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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Betty Jane Locklear
April 27, 1973
Interviewer: Lew Barton
Typed by: Sally A. White
B: This is April 27, 1973. I'm Lew Barton interviewing for the history department
of the University of Florida, and the Doris Duke Foundation's American Indian
Oral History Program. This afternoon., we are privileged to be in the home of
Mrs. Locklear in Lumberton, is that right? Would you tell us your name, your
L: Betty Jane Locklear.
B: Are you, uh, (sighs) are you a widow, or something like this?
L: (laughs) Well, I guess I'm what you'd call a bachelorette.
B: Oh, that's great. I'm glad you said that. Uh, it does have it's compensations,
L: It certainly does. Being your own boss.
B: Right. Uh, where do you work?
L: Uh, First Union National Bank near Lumberton.
B: I see. This should be interesting work. You don't ever bring home any samples,
L: No. We don't deal with money. All we deal with is the stuff on paper.
figures on paper.
B: That's too bad, isn't it? No, I don't think it would be a good idea for me to, uh,
with just money. It would make me hungry for some of ,t, I guess, ..
.the point of temptation. Uh, I shouldn't ask a lady her age, but......
L: (laughs) No, you never should ask a woman her age, they never get over 21.
B: All right. Well, I was 39 like Jack Benny ifor a good many ;years, so you-re in
good company, you're in good company. Uh, is your work very interesting? Do you
meet many people?
L: No, no, uh, we don't meet that many people, except those associated with First
Union. I work in the bookkeeping department, and it's always something different.
S e ir nn i l ...
B: The First Union National Bank, in Lumberton.
L: Always a different problem coming up.
B: Are you a Lumbee Indian?
L: Yes, I am.
B: Are you proud of it?
L: Yes, I am.
B: How does it happen, that none of these handsome braves have been able to persuade
you into matrimony,....or is that a question?
L: No, not really. I'm, I'm just stubborn, I guess....(laughs).....about what I want
and won't settle for less.
B: Well, do you-want somebody who's handsome and wealthy and whatever......?
L: No. No. Money-won't make you happy if there isn't something else there to go along
with it. Basically, what I'd like to find in a man would be honesty,
ambitious, intelligent. He doesn't have to be good looking .
B: Well, that's a pretty good order, that I'm sure could be filled.
L: I hope so.
B: How long have you been with the First Union National Bank?
L: Since December.
B: Do they have many other Indian employees?
L: Yes;L right at the moment, there's....,one works with the computers, and one works
in the proof department, one works in returns, and two in bookkeeping.
B: Uh-huh. How long, uh, hav. : they changed their policy about hiring Indian people,
or has this been going on for a long time?
L: Just in the last two years, they've changed the, they've.-changed their policy about
hiring races. Doesn't seem to matter, uh, what color you are, just so you do the
B: Uh-huh. I'm sure you're good at your job, whatever it is.
L: I hope so.
B: Uh, we've been trying to get around and interview as many of our people as
possible. Of course, we've got a great people and a very people
and they're scattered out quite a bit. Right here, uh, could you describe
where you live, out here, the part of town you're in?
L; Well, the part of town I live in is on the outer, it's on the edge of the city
limits, still, not quite all the way country and north city. It's sort of
inbetween. And, right in this area, there's all three races, living.
B: You don't have any problems, do you?
L: None, so far. '
B: That's good. Uh, do you think things are improving for our people?
L: I believe so. Slowly. Uh, the way I feel about it is, we've never lived on
a reservation, and we've had the opportunities, uh, of the white man, all our
lives to get education, and it seems like everybody's trying hard to get an
education because they feel like that's the thing, now, the only way to win.
B: Oh. Where did you attend school?
B: At Prospect.
B: Uh, which, what year did you graduate, or' do you remember?
L: That would be telling my age. (laughs)
B: Oh, me. This is where I graduated, too, you know. I'm kinda partial to
Prospect. It is a bit unusual, isn't it?
L: Yes. It is. It's come a long, long way.
B: Um-hmm. Homey people, aren't we? I don't think we ever quite get awayrom
Prospect, when we...........
L: No, I can, I can remember when the, uh, used to have classes in the, uh, old
building down by the, the canal, that burned down(?), in the old frame build-
ings, they had classes.
B: Yes, I went to some of those. You better not tell me too much about those
frame because, uh, there used to be a, I know one you didn't go to, and I
just remembeit as a child. This was a two-story building. And then they
built, uh, another frame building. Now they've, built alot of, uh, I guess,
brick buildings. Well, it's changed, too, hasn't it?
L: Yes,. it has, they ha..., they even have, they have sorImany students, there,
now, they have mobile classrooms.
B: Did you, uh, did you ever go to Mr. Danford Dial for......
L: Oh, yes, the greatest teacher I ever went to.
B: He is quite a boy. He is, he's also associated with this program. Maybe that
will give you a little more confidence.
L: He's an allright fella.
B: Yes, he certainly is. Uh, it's, Prospect, for the sake of those who, who
will be reading this, is a completely Indian community, is it not? And it's
about the center, roughly, the center of the Lumbee Indian, uh, settlement,
would you say?
L: That's right.
B: And most of the people, is this area, I suppose,, would call themselves a little
more Indian than b.thaeaon the fringes. I don't know if ,'
but,. uh, you can go for miles and miles without seeing any home or any family
that isn't. Can you.....
L: That's right.
B: ...in any direction, so it is, roughly, at the center, although, maybe the
people in Pembroke might not like me to say that, because they regard themselves
as the cultural and educational center of our people. We're sort of getting away
from that, though, aren't we, with, uh, so many, uh, you know, integration
and with Pembroke State University growing to the enormous size it is in comparison
to what it was when it was all Indian.
B: Uh, how many, no I wanted to ask you about your parents. You were born in
L: No. I was born in Marlboro, County, South Carolina.
B: Is that right? Who were your parents?
L: My father was Locklear. He died in '42.
B: Uh-huh. Is the Marlboro Community very large? About how many, would you say?
L: Well, I don't know, because I was small when we moved from there. We moved to
Robeson, after he died.
B: I see.
L: That's, it's just across the state line, in, into South Carolina.
B: Fortunately, I was, uh, able to bring a thousand dollars to somebody's church
over that way in Marlboro, County, several years ago. Some people wrote me
from, uh, the North, and said, we have a thousand dollars to give to some-
body for building a church, among your people. And, says, uh, we read your
book and we want to give this thousand dollars, so they did, and this is,
trying to find, you know, a place where they needed
it most, where it would be appreciated. I didn't decide on where, but
they did send it to me, and this was a uh, it was a happy Christmas present,
I think. Uh, I think Reverend Mangum, Ralph Mangum (?), what's his first..,
L: Robert, I think.
B: Robert L. Mangum, uh, I approached him with this check, prayer( service, and
I said to be used for you. So, uh, this is what happened.
I was very happy about this, sometimes, good things do happen, don't they.
L: Yeah. When you least expect it, and from, from sources unknown.
B: Do you, uh, I always almost wind up asking personal questions, but if I ask
you something you don't want to answer, you're not gonna answer it anyway,
are you? (Laughs) Do you.......
L: I'm evasive.
B: Are you, uh, doi you do, uh, have you ever done, uh, sott of interracial dating?
L: Yes*, I have.
B: How did it work out?
L: It worked fine.
B: Have you ever run onto any resentments, or anything like this? You're a very
cheerful _, person, maybe you're wiser than some of
the people I've talked to.
L: Well, not recently. At, at the beginning of the big race issues in this area,
it was quite a problem.
B: Do you think, maybe people are becoming adjusted to eachother?
L: I think they are.
B: Maybe the story's going to have a happy ending after all.
L: Or, at least, if they think anything, they keep it to themselves, they don't say
it out loud where anybody can hear it. 'Cause they're always afraid of what'll
B: Uh, do you think this is generally true of Indian people in Robeson, that some-
times we're afraid to discuss certain problems for fear that it might, uh, affect
us some way on our jobs, or our relationships with other people?
L: Well, on the whole, it probably, if it would, if anything would affect your
job, by your saying something, it would be done in an underhanded way, you'd
never know it.
B: That's jUst as deadly.....
L: That's right. With the situation, now, with all the riots, and everything,
they, they're actually afraid to do anything to an Indian.
B: That's sort of a switch, isn't it?
L: Yes, it is. Like, uh, where I work they have this huge computer, there. They
rent it from IBM. And the boss, of the, uh, it's separate from First Union.
It's under First Computer Services.....
L: ...and the boss is Charlotte, and he's so afraid that the Indians were
going to march down there, and get that computer, he don't know what to do.
B: Oh, gosh, that's a terrible thought, isn't it?
L: When they marched down through Lumberton, he, that was a nervous man.
B: I was writing about this Italian mummy, you know, who's been.....
B: ....right. He had been awaiting burial for 61 years and nobody had buried him.
This bothered me alot, so I wrote some stories about it, and the stories knocked
around in the South, for awhile, then they were picked up in the North and
kept going. So, finally, we got the gentleman buried. And I was talking
to this girl of Italian descent in Lumberton. I said, aren't you worried
about this? Doesn't this concern you? Yeah, but we're in the minority. I
said, why don't you join the Indians? And she said, yeah, they'd probably
spirit the body by, at midnight, or something like this. I said, probably.
Of course, I knew she was just joking, of course. Uh, what you see that we need
in the way of improvement, for our people, to give them an honest, uh, a moralist
shape in things. Do you have any....
L: That would be a large order. I'll have to think about that one.
B: If there was something you could change, no matter what, and you could do like
Aladdin a rub the magic lamp, and change anything you wanted to change in this
county, have you any idea what you'd change?
L: Yes, it'd be wonderful if our race of people had a larger voice in the events
that happens in this county that concerns them, like education, for one thing.
And industry that comes in this community.
B: That certainly is a good answer.
L: We don't have enough to say about what affects our lives, and we are a majority
of the people.
B: This is kind of strange, isn't it, from.....
L: Yes, it is.
B: ....it's like, sort of like the, uh, well, it's not as bad as the elephant who
said to the, the ant who said to the elephant, look out, big boy, let's not
step on eachother.
B: But we are, uh, we do have some edge, don't we, in numbers?
B: Yet, it's always been so maneuvered that, uh, .....
L: We are left out of the, uh, major decisions.
B: When we're added in, they also add other numbers and other ethnic groups to
sort of compensate for the admission of Indians.
L: Yeah, and we're usually only in it because they have a quota to meet, of
B: Yes, that's true. I said something, I don't know whether you agree with it, or
not. I said that, in this county, that, uh, 'course this is a generality, that,
uh, our white brother equates the worst among him with the best among us.
L: True. That is true.
B: How about our....
L: It's all based.....
B: ....Robeson County, when you cross the line in any direction, can you tell the
difference? Do people...
L: Well, I, let's take Robeson County, for instance. Now, you go from Lumberton,
back into the Red Springs area, Rayford, and that area, you see the Indian
people doing, and the Black people doing the farming, and the dirty work. You
don't see the White woman out there, and the children out there working on the
farm. For years and years that's gone on.
L: But, now, you leave Lumberton and go in that direction, everybody works.
L: And it's strange, just, just, such, one town that would divide people so.
B: It is strange that just that little bit of distance, there would be that much
L: Well, the, there is. And, uh, I have a friend that lives down at ,
and she can't understand, she can't understand, she thought I was joking
when I told her that.
B: 'Course I've got very limited vision, but, ub, with the narrow field that I
have, I see very clearly over a very small area. And, uh, uh, you have typical
Indian features. Nobody could, uh, ...you know.....uh, is this an asset?
(She laughs.) Uh, you look Indian.
L: Yes,, it has been, with me, because once you leave this area, you can go North,
or you can go anyplace else, I don't care where you meet a white person, he's
gonna lie and say that somebody in his family has got some Indian in him. And
they treat you like you were, you were something special. But, now, you come
back home, and the white man has got to feel superior to somebody, and he cheats
you, the Indian, or the lower class black man. They're so afraid they won't have
somebody to feel superior to, they don't know what to do. Even the poorest
class of white people, in this area, and a poor white person is a poor person.
B: There's alot of poor people, period, in this county, I guess.
L: That's, that's right.
B: Uh, it's very sad that, uh, it's like this, but I guess maybe, as you say, this
is a human trait. Do you think this is true of other groups?
L: It's a human trait, because, uh, the, uh, white class of people, say, in the,
in the late thirties and forties, they had been taught that they were, from
infancy, that they're better than everybody else. They're better than other
minority groups. Well, the, now, they're trying to teach their children the
same thing. But the teenager, today, he's smarter than we were back then.
B: Yes, they're very well-informed......
L: He, He's searching out, and finding what he, his own thing. And he's not paying
no attention to Mama and Daddy. That's what's wrong with integration in the
schools, is my belief. It's not the children, it's the parents.
B: Uh-huh. I sort of had this situation in teaching in the schools, with my
limited vision. This is another form of prejudice, I guess, toward people with
limited vision. I got along wonderful and well, with the young people, but the
parents were a bit skeptical.
B: My kid could be sitting in the back row, there, smooching and you wouldn't know
what was going on. But, of course, I would....
L: Yeah, but they don't understand that since you only have partial sight that your
other senses have developed to point where you can used them as well as your eyes.
That's, that's another bad mistake about people that are not handicapped. They
don't understand people that are handicapped. How well they can train themselves.
B: Are there many Locklears in your community?
L: Good Heavens. The Locklears are like the Smiths.
B: Somebody said if you went to any public gathering, and said, will Mr. Locklear
please come forward, that you might have a riot, because everybody would rise
up and come to the front.
L: That's about it.
B: Uh, it's a very numerous name. It was, this name was numerated during the first
United States census in 1790, and they were here along time before then. I'm
sure they didn't count them all, but there are seven families mentioned in
the 1790 census. And they're mentioned even farther back than that in
land grants and deeds, and things like this.
L: The, uh, head of this service center, he said that, uh, there used to be a
many a few years ago, who worked with First Union, when, uh, Castro took over
Cuba, he had to leave. And he said, uh, his name was Henderson, but he couldn't
speak very good english, and everybody, when he'd tell anybody his name was
Henderson, they'd look at him and laugh. But his father had come over from
England and married a Cuban, and when he married her, he just stayed there.
And so, he said, when he came to Lumberton, he come down from Raleigh, one day,
and they took him out. And he got down here, and he started hearing and reading
all these names theseXv-cdI(oL people had, and he's a great, he's a nut about
tracing people's family tree. He said he like to go crazy with all these names
down here. Wantin' to know where they came from, yeah, and how in the world
Indian people got these names, the names that we have.
B: Uh-huh. I was thinking about, uh, attitudes, uh. My bachelor.., my bachelor-
ette friend, I want ask you, are you a woman's libber?
L: No. No, I'm not. I still believe in a woman being feminine.
B: That's nice. I guess, uh, maybe they'd say that they were. Uh, at least,
uh, I'm glad they don't have all the women. Of course, that may sound
prejudiced, a little bit. Sometimes I tease them, uh, about women's lib.
I said, you don't want equality, you want superiority. (Laughs)
L: Well, some of their things is all right, but I, I wouldn't go all the
way with everything.
B: Which things do you go along with..'course, I'm sure you believe in equal
pay for equal work.
L: Well, I believe in a woman having say-so over what belongs to her. And a
woman being able to make business deals as she wishes, but, well, if, if,
if, they keep going and seeking for rights, pretty soon, women will be paying
men alimony for supporting the family. It won't be the other way around.
B: (Laughs) I, I may sound like a, somebody who's prejudiced, or something, but
I often wonder what's going to happen to society's basic unit, the family,
and will this eventually be affected. Do you think that.....
L: Yes, it will. Because the women'll be out there trying to prove to themselves
they're better than the man.
B: Uh, in some ways, maybe they are.
L: Well, that's partly true, too, but a woman is the backbone of the home.
B: And, uh, if the woman leaves the home to go to the factory......
L: There'll be something missing.
B: Getting back to the Indian people, specifically, I've often said that we
have the loveliest wtmea- in the world, do you go along with that?
L: I'll agree with that. (Giggles)
B: How about guys?
L: They have some handsome men, too.
B: Uh, do you think that, uh, that in time, that everybody will be, sort of on an
equal or do you think this will every be, is this just a hopeless
dream, or are we really achieving those things?
L: I believe that's like Don Quixote, the impossible dream.
B: (Laughs) We have to keep trying, though, don't we?
L: I, I don't think we should be striving so hard for equality, as much, as we
should be striving to preserve our own image, our own image. Not want to be
like somebody else, be like we, ourselves.
B: You're a rugged individualist, then, aren't you?
L: Yes, I am. I don't, I don't believe in conforming to what somebody else's
image of what you should be.
B: That's uh, I feel that way, too. Uh, of course, I was only kidding about
women's lib, I always kid alot about that. Actually, I think, perhaps, if
we had a woman president, well, what do you think about that? Suppose we
did have a woman president?
L: Uh, I don't think we'd ever make it with a woman president, because psychologists
say that men are more emotional than women, but I can't believe that because
men are sed to the day-to-day making the hardline decisions. Women have
never been thrust into a, the spotlight where she's constant pressure on
her. I don't think a woman could hold up. I think she'd break.
B: On the making the decisions....
L: Right. Because there's a motherly instinct in, always, and we'd probably be
overrun by some other countries, and war, because she wouldn't want to fight.
B: You think not?
L: No, I don't, I don't believe could ever, ever, start a war with another
B: Maybe if, well, sometimes this might be good, and it might be had, might it
L: Yes, it probably would be, because Americans are known as the most sympathetic
people, anyway. Because we, we have been known be bleeding hearts to anybody
that cries for help.
B: We just have to get into other people's......
L: We just gotten stick our fingers in it.
B: Uh, do you think we may have learned a lesson in the Asian War?
L: No. 'Causeewe're bombing in Cambodia. We haven't le---, didn't learn-: a
B: How 'bout our young people of today, do you think they're going to the dogs,
do you think they're better off....
L: No, I don't. I think our young people, I'm like Harry S. Truman said, years
ago. They're the most wonderful people in the world, the young people and
it's not that they're, they're any meaner than their, the afore generation,
it's just that there are more of them and they're more honest, nowadays with
what they do. They're not pushing it under cover. They're, they are being
B: Do people often tell you, you are a very lovely girl?
L: Yes, I've been told that, but I don't ever believe it. (Laughs)
B: You've got some of that Indian modesty, perhaps.
L: Oh, I know I have good features, but I don't think I'm pretty.
B: Well, I can't agree with you, but.... How 'bout, uh, your not a family girl,
yourself, exactly, but, what do you think about population and the population
explosion, so called, and do you think the Indian families of today, are as
large as they were, say, ten years Sago?
L: No, no, heavens no, because in my family, there was 13 children.
B: Is that right?
L: Um-hmmn. And there isn't, I haven't, uh, my brothers and sisters
are married, and neither one of them has, well, one has 5 children, that's
Bt Are you the oldest, in the family?
L: I'm the oldest girl. And a br--, 2 brothers older than I. I have, my one brother
he's in Korea, now. My younger brother, he's in the Air Force, he's stationed
in Denver, Colorado.
B: There was a time when ourLpeople didn't get very far away from home. And
now they're spread out all over. What do you think of this?
L: Yeah, they're...I think it's wonderful.
L: I think, well, the States, out of these, there's some pretty wonderful
placesito visit, and I think I believe in the advertisements, see what's at
home, and then go somewhere else.
B: How 'bout coming home afterwards?
L: That's...comeon back home.
B: Well, maybe they...,
L: If you don't, if you don't find what you want away from here, come back.
B: They say that most Indians who leave this county, eventually return....
L: Like homeing pidgeons. (Laughs)
B: Do you think that this is because they don't find what they are looking for?
L: No, I think it's because we have a more easy, relaxed way of life. It's sorta
like, like in Mark Twain's day.
L: Now, it's not the rush, rush, rush, hustle, bustle;to make the all mighty
dollar, before.....Well, we got a little patch of land, you can grow a garden,
so we have food, what else can we do?
B: Um-hmm. Well, that's, uh, certainly along the lines of'the, of the Indian
philosophy because, one complaint I've heard about, you know, just sitting
down and discussing, uh, races with races, you know, back and forth in a
B: I've heard the point, well at times, that, what the Indian couldn't
understand about our Caucasian brother. is that he's always changing things,
he's never satisfied with things as they are. There has to be change. Uh,
do you think this is a fair assessment?
L: I believe so, and I, basically, I feel that the white people, in this area,
the big problem is that they envy us, because we can take so little, and live,
and get along well....
B: And be happy?
L: Right. And they have to have so many dollars that, oh my golly, keeping
up with the Joneses, could only be fun. It doesn't seem to bother us that
B: Uh-huh. Do you think that's because we're sort of used to it?
L: It, that could. have been.......
B: Kind of, just a....
L: ...contributing factor to it. We, we've adjusted to it. The white man never
has had to.
B: Uh-huh. That's certainly interesting. I, I wonder if, uh, we're getting a
bit away fromthis. Are we?
L: Kind of, we are because, the farming inthis area:has played out, just about.
And we're going into, Indian people are going into more white collar jobs.
But, I still think, I still think that basic, out basic traits are still
there. We still go back home to get that soul food.
B: (Laughs) Well, do you, uh, what do you think of the Lumbee Annual Homecoming?
L: I think it's nice.
B: We certainly have alot of people coming back home on it, don't we?
L: (Laughs) Yes, we do.
B: It's alot of fun.
L: Very good people, and it's climbed the ladder high, this successful
B: I think we counted ten thousand, last year, by noon, or shortly after noon.
I'm all for this, I like those big get-togethers. I like any kind of get-
together-, whether it's home, or not. But I'm especially addicted to our kind
of gatherings. You get there on Indian time, and leave on Indian time. You
get there when you get there, and when you leave, everybody gets ready to
B: So, this is our relaxed way of life, isn't it?
L: Yes'. it is.
B: How 'bout our religious life? Do you think, uh, we're as religious as other
L: I, that would be hard to say because the Indians, our, the Indian race of
people, in their religion, it is becoming more like the white man.
L: It's a, it's a front thing, like you say, well, he's a member of such-and-
such church. He pays all of his money and does this and that for the church,
but he doesn't live a religious life. See point. See, back 10 or 15
years ago, it was the, uh, you'd go to the, uh, they ;had the Baptist, what
they call the Baptists, the holier than thou, fire and brimstone people.
They'd go to church and sing and shout all day. They don't do that, anymore.
B: Well, do you think we're losing something in our church life, or maybe gaining?
L: Well, on the uh, side, I think we're learning. Wha..maybe we're
not learning, but we're having, we have educated preachers, now.
L: Who are going away to school and have the ability to explain the Bible, whether
it's doing any good, or not. (Laughs)
B: Uh, we certainly have enough churches, and, uh, and services. 'Course I guess
that's a good thing, too, if they don't have too many. I guess it's possible
to have too many, do you think......?
L: I, I don't know.
B: We've got between 75 and 100 churches among the Lumbee Indians alone. 'Course
that means they have to have small, smaller memberships, I don't suppose you'd
give your opinion Do you think we're just about
as modern as anybody else, in certain ways, and not so in all ways?
L: I believe that's about the way it is.
B: How'bout the living pattern? Have you noticed Indian families in Lumberton,
are they, uh, are the homes about the same as those of other people ?
L: Yes, the Indian people that are building homes are, they're getting better
homes than what they used tolive in. But, basically, the sametraits are there,
that they had when they were on the farm. They still seem to be, seem to go
in relaxed way of living.
B: How 'bout the so-called "age of enlightenment?" You know, since 1947, when
the Kinsey reports were made, uh, maybe I'm going back too far for you, but
before then, people were pretty prudish about sex, and other things pertaining
to sex, and since then, it seemed to open up, and, uh, you know, the discussion
of sex in school, and things like this, all that sex education, and all these
things, do you think we're catching on like the rest of the country, or are
we still a bit behind, uh, well....
L: Well, I think.....
B: ....maybe I shouldn't say behind, a bit different, though.
L: I believe the younger people are, but the older people are still in the Dark
Ages about sex. Because they've been taught all their lives that sex is some-
L: And I believe in this sex education in the schools, because the children are
not going to get it at home, because the parents, if they know how to explain
it to the children, they're not gonna do it. Because they, they're, a parent,
the people in this area, the parents think their children are never at the
right age when you're supposed to tell them about the birds and the bees.
L: You're supposed to just learn it the hard way, but it'll only happen once
B: The whole lesson at once. theory.
L: Right. And then they cry, they cry, and oh, how could you do this to me,
and do that, when a son or daughter gets in trouble, when they haven't
helped him along the way to understand these things, and talk, told him
about these things. But still, they don't want him taught.
B: Did they teach sex education in your school?
L: No, they didn't, I learned the dirtyway. (Laughs) I learned by listening to
older people, or older, you know teen-agers in the school, using dirty
language, and I got hold of a little pamphlet, once, and that's the way I
learned about sex. My, my grandmother and my parents didn't teach me.
B: Is that one of those pornographic, uh,.......
L: No. This was one of those. it just explained, it was one of those little
pamphlets explaining the anatomy of a woman's body.
B: And that, they, that was considered to be pretty....
L: Oh, that was, I would have been whipped within an inch-of my life, if I'd been
caught with it.
B: I remember how I used to go to the dictionary and try to look up every word,
and I was frustrated, there, because there was no help, there, at all. Go'
to the encyclopedia, and didn't get much help, there. And biology, it was,
there was some of it in the book.
L: But it didn't go far enough.
B: But they didn't teach it in the classroom, even though it was in the book, I
think they passed deliberately over that chapter, or two, on reproduction.
And, uh, it's kind of bad, isn't it?
L: Yes, it is.
B: Uh, do you think the Indian's way of approaching sex is basically different
from that of other people?
L: I don't know, it's, most people I've Italked to about it, in the Indian people,
it's still a hush-hush thing.
B: Um-hmm. Some of the schools, I was asking, uh, a girl, just this
week on 'em. It was if they taught sex education in the Red Springs
High School, which is one of the better, traditionally white schools, in the
county. And she said no, no they never have anything like that. I said,
how 'bout, uh, do you have something called hygiene? She said, no we have
one man who's a counsellor and he takes care of all the problems.
L: (Laughs) I have a sister who teaches at Rayford High. I never thought,
I never thought to ask her if they teach sex education up there.
B: How about the books nowadays? Uh, do some of those, uh, hush-hush books
get in libraries, now? Can you tell me?
L: Uh, I couldn't answer you on that. I haven't heard anybody say that they have.
But you, they don't have get into the library, you can buy 'em off the newsstands,
anywhere, the bookstands.
B: Well, I, I suspect that this is a subject that people are going to pursue,
whatever the attitude is, they're going to learn, some how.
L: Right. It's like the saying, cliche, if you want to do something, you'll find
B: Right. And it's, if this were not true, perhaps the human race would vanish(
from the face of the earth.
L: That's quite true.
B: There isn't much danger of that, I don't believe, yet. (Laughs) Any way, these
are pretty deep things to, to some people and, uh, some people are quite shocked,
if you ask them about their mothers or sex, or things like this. It's just
something you're not supposed to discuss.
L: Yes. Like most mothers, they still tell their children they went to the
hospital and got 'em, but they don't tell them how they got there.
B: Um-hmm. And I, did you ever hear the story about the hollow stump and things
L: Oh yes. The doctor's bag.
B: We didn't quite have the stork, I don't think, but, uh, we had some pretty
good inventions. Uh, what do you think we could do to improve the educational
system, generally? Uh, do you think it needs improving, I should ask you
that, instead 6f
L: Yes, it needs improving, bad, especially the county systems.
B: Uh-huh. Of course, the county system is where all the, where most of the
L: That's right. The Indians and the Blacks.
B: Um-hmm. But it's strictly controlled by the entire county, isn't it?
B: As far as the the Board of Education.
L: Board of Education of white people.
B: What do you :think of this matter which they call double voting?
L: I have no opinion on that, because I really hadn't thought about it, too; much.
But, some people's for it, some against. But, I guess, my opinion.........
END OF SIDE 1.
Betty Jane Locklear
April 27, 1973
Interviewer: Lew Barton
Typed by: Sally A. White
L: .....they have certain grades going to different schools, but he's going to what
used to be colored school. It used to be Peach Tree High, and he's in the
second grade. And he's doing work, that right now in the city schools, that
there's no way in the world that I could do it. Because it's just so far ahead
of what I was taught in school. But, yet, still, I feel like if he was going to
the county schools, which he would have gone to, if they hadn't had the integration
thing, he would have been just as far behind, right now, as he would have at the
beginning of school.
B: Um-hmm. So you think the county system is declining.....
L: I definitely believe it is.
B: Do you have any idea how, 'course you're speaking about the
Lumberton city units. Have you any idea how Lumberton compares with the others?
L: No, I don't. I've no way of knowing.
B: How do people respond to you where you work? Where you work, I mean, do they
show any surprise, or do they show any resentment, or, uh, is it something that
they accept, and like it's always happened, your working, you know.
L; Well, it's, uh, well, I see no difference. They actAlike I'm just, it's just
a group of people working together. The race is never mentioned.
B: Uh. Was just a few years ago, we were pretty much segregated in this county,
L: Oh yeah. You didn't see people, Indian people working in offices, downtown,
or the Black people.
B: And in the courthouse, itself, uh, this, uh, place of justice, uh, you'd have 3
separate rest rooms....
B: ...for Indian men, and 3 more for Indian women. And, uh, this made it.....
L: Bus stations, the same way.
L: Restaurants on, with signs out front, white only. They'd give you a sandwich
out the back door, but you couldn't go in the front door and pick it up.
B: Um-hmmm. And, uh, all this has changed, now, hasn't it?
L: A great deal.
B: Uh, 'course we never know what people are thinking. (She laughs.) Do you think
they'll eventually quit thinking about it, at all, and it will come to be,
well, almost, or, well, do you think this is the case, now, where you are?
'Course you, this is another question where you have no way of knowing.
L: Now, I don't think it's the case where I'might know, it's just the matter of,
uh, I feel it's just the thing that we have to work together, so everybody's
trying to get along. But, so far as the, uh, what we call the white race,
the caucasions, having different thoughts about the Indian people, they
never will. 'Course now, white men love the Indian women,the best.
B: Is that right?
L: That's right.
B: How 'bout vice versa?
L: Well, it used to be a thing where, it would thrill the Indian girl to death,
to go out with a white man. But, I think that thrill's gone, long, it just
dropped along the way, somewhere.
B: You don't think they feel that way, anymore?
L: No I don't. I think, I think the Indian girls are dating men more as
B: Uh-huh. And they use.....
L: And this....'
B: ...used to do it because it was strange and forbidden.
L: Yes, that's right.
B: Sort of an exotic thing.
L: Yeah, they seem to be trying, sticking to their own race, more, nowadays,
especially in this area.
B: Uh, did you notice any differences, I asked you, uh, some time ago, uh, if
you thought interracial marriages, I mean interracial dating, uh, did you,
uh, you dated white fellas?
B: You did, did you notice any great difference, uh, between them? Uh,
L: (Laughs.) You know what....
B: In their conversation?
L: Do you want the honest truth?
L: They, they seem to have, they seem to respect, and treat an Indian girl nicer,
than, uh, Indian, our own race of men do.
B: Is that right?
L: They seem to have more respect for 'em.
B: Now that's good, isn't it?
L: Tha..that's the ones I've associated with. That's the feeling I've had.
B: Uh-huh. That's certainly good, it speaks &lot for 'em. Uh, 'course if I ask
you something you don't want to talk about it, we won't.
L: All right.
B: We'll just pass it up. Because we don't want you to talk about anything you
don't want to talk about. Uh, we've covered quite a bit of ground, I guess,
uh, what would you, what kind of advice would you give to our young people,
now, who are coming along? Who are in this new setting, and this new social
setting, and integrated setting. You've been, you've been in both, the inte-
grated and the segregated, and now that you have, do you have any advice you
could give, give to other people?
L: Well, being on both sides of the fence, the only, about the only thing I could
say is, if you run into a situation where somebody dislikes you for the color
of your skin, put yourself in their place. Think what caused them to feel this
L: I always think like this, that, if my brown skin is so offensive, to a white
person, why in the world does he lay out in the sun and bake himself, trying to
get what I was born with?
B: (Laughs.) That's certainly a good way, a good constructive way of looking at
L: That's right.
B: And it's a pretty.....
L: It goes.....it goes back to that same old thing, that I've seen that I feel
they are envious of us, because they think we have a natural beauty, and they
have to work twice as hard to get it.
B: Uh-huh. And, uh, our skin tones range uh, from brown to, uh, what I Ywould
describe as peaches and cream.....
B: ...or something like this.
L: We have what you call a Duke's mixture.
B: And sometimes it's white, white, isn't it?
B: It's almost, uh, there isn't any difference. Can you always, uh,recognize, uh,
I don't ask OVNeIinterviewee this, I believe this is the first time I've ever
asked anybody. But can you recognize, uh, an Indian, always?
L: I don't care, I don't care where you go, if there's one there, you'll know it.
Last summer I drove up to Maryland to visit my brother, and some little town
in Virginia, I don't remember the name of it, but anyhow, it was off 95. My
mother went with me, and we'd stopped to get something to eat, at a truck
stop, and, uh, there was this boy, this woman, and a child, setting in there.
And he, his skin was just as fair as fair could be, but he had those huge brown
eyes and dark hair, and-so, when wewalked in, he kept setting there, looking'
at us. We kept looking at him, I told my mother, I said, I bet you anything
that's somebody from Lumtown. When you go away from here, you talk about
Pembroke as being Lumtown.
L: So, when he got up, he had finished breakfast and started to leave, he stopped
by the table and he asked me who I was, and I told him. He said, I was sure
you were somebody from Pembroke, that I knew. I said, yeah, I know you're
from Pembroke. And he was, he was a Bell.
B: And that was just based on appearances, or was it based on feelings?
L: Yes...no, it's just a feeling you have when one's around, you know it's there,
it's sort of like a brotherhood, or something.
B: Oh, that's good. I think this is true, too, uh, if you wonder a bit, you don't
wonder long, do you?
B: Uh, have you been away from Robeson County, much?
L: Well, I was away for about 2 years, about eightee...yeah, about 2 years. I
spent 2 years in the Women's Army Corps.
B: Well, that's great. Uh, this is the WACS?
B: I had two sisters who were in, you know, in the WAAC. and then it became a
part of the regular Army.
B: And at this time, they, uh, decided they wanted to come back home. They, uh,
all the girls were allowed to receive discharges;, and of course, my two sisters,
uh, they had this experience, and come on back home, and of course, they didn't
join the Army. But how did you make out?
L: Well, I did very well. I, I had never been away from home, and I travelled alonq,
by myself, everywhere I went. And I got along swell.
B: Were you treated any differently, in the WACS?
L: Oh, like I was a queen, or something. This brown skin carried me high.
B: (Laughs.) It's, uh, I believe, uh, well, it's a beautiful color, it's a beautiful
shade, really. Uh, it's a healthy looking color. And, uh, I guess we sound a
little prideful, but, uh, I'm partial to it. And where were you stationed?
L: I went through basic training, uh, in Anderson, Alabama, that's Fort
And I left from there, and I went to school in Fort Houston, Texas.
And then, from there, to, uh, Fort California. That's right
on the beach from San Pedro. You could walk off the post on to the beach.
B: This was in California.
L: Uh-huh. And I stayed there, 'til my enlistment was up.
B: Uh-huh. And how many years was this?
L: I went in for two years.
B: Uh, was that, how long ago? I'm not trying to out your age, but.....
L: Well, I got out in '58.
B: Uh-huh. Well, that's good. Do you think this is good experience for all girls?
L: I think it's -a wonderful experience. I think, I think every woman in, in the
States should pull at least two years in some kind of service.
B: Kind of an education for....
L: Yes,.it's an education within itself, it's like going to college for two years.
B: Did you, do you think you learned to be more independent?
L: I did. And I learned how to get along with people of all races.
L: Because you're thrown in there, with 'em, and you have to learn how to get
along with 'em. And it's a good experience. You learn to put yourself in
the other man's place.
B: There isn't an alternative, as there are, as there is in civilian life.
L: That's right.
B: That's great. I think I agree with you that it's a good education in itself,
and, uh, you didn't want to make it a regular, you didn't want to become a
regular, though, did you?
L: No, because women, after they've been in service for a number of years, they,
they, tend to become hardened, develop masculine traits. They forget how to
B: And that's sad, isn't it?
L: For me, to me it is.
B: Is this why you object to women's lib? Do you think....
B: ....it might tend to make women more masculine?
L: It makes 'em hard. Less emotional.
B: Well, you know I like you.
B: Either I'm prejudiced, or I sort of like to see things kept as they are.
L: I believe in changing it for the better, but some of the changes that's come
to they're not for the good of the woman.
B: Uh-huh. You think she might lose her womanly personality, eventually.
L: That's, I do, yes.
B: Well, uh, I certainly have enjoyed this interview. I wonder if, uh, there's
something else you would like to add to, uh, tell us about your experiences.
Can you think about any particular experience that you had while you were in
the service, that might put a light on it?
L: Well, not really, except like I said, the brown skin took me along in_
I remember, particularly, one. And it, boy I had, was at Fort MacArthur they
had, uh, you know every post has it's own little paper. And anything important
ever came up, I was the one that was stuck in the paper. I was the one that had
my picture flashed in the paper.
B: Yes, and I bet you are very photogenic.
L: So I, that's the reason I say I'm proud of my brown skin, because it takes you
places where nothing else will.
B: Uh-huh. That's good. Now, of course, men are prejudiced toward other men when
it comes to dating, and let's make that assumption, anyway.
L: Oh yes.
B: And, uh, maybe, uh, the fellows of one ethnic group might tend to be suspicious of
the fellows of another ethnic group. Uh, do you think that these men, or these
boys in the different ethnic groups, just think the men in the other ethnic
"group are wanting to take advantage of the girls in their ethnic group, or
something like this. Do you......
L: That's the basic feeling among the Indian people, that they feel like if a
white man dates the Indian girls, that it's always for one reason, to take
advantage of them.
B: Uh-huh. I'm afraid I've run into that kind of feeling.
L: That is the feeling among the Indian people in this area.
B: But, of course, you don't think this is the case at all, do you?
L: No, I don't think so.
B: That's good.
L: 'Cause I feel that most white men are proud to be seen with an Indian woman.
'Cause that's a feather in their cap. The others would say, boy, I don't know
how in the world he got her.
B: Um'hmm. That certainly is good. Well, I certainly have enjoyed this interview,
and, uh, I hope I'm still taping. And you were very kind to have us. I want
to thank you very much for giving us this enlightening interview. It's been very
L: Um, you're welcome. I hope I've helped some.
B: You have. You've made a valuable contribution to the program. Thank you.
END OF SIDE 2.