Title: Interview with Stella Locklear (December 13, 1973)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007146/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Stella Locklear (December 13, 1973)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: December 13, 1973
Spatial Coverage: Lumbee County (Fla.)
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00007146
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Lumbee County' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: LUM 160

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Full Text


This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
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Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
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INTERVIEWEE: Mrs. Stella Locklear

December 13, 1973

B: This is December 13, 1973. I'm Lew Barton recording for the

University of Florida's History Department. This afternoon I am

in my home in Pembroke, North Carolina, at 114-C Dial, D-i-a-l,

Terrace, T-e-r-r-a-c-e, and with me is Mrs. Stella Locklear, who

has kindly consented to give me an interview. Right now while we're

doing this interview Mrs. Locklear is washing the dishes for me.

Isn't she sweet. Mrs. Locklear, which, which apartment is it that

you live in here in Dial Terrace?

L: 200-C.

B: She's over at the sink and she says she lives at 200-C right

here in this block. We'll talk about that just in a minute when

you get through and if you'll be kind enough to draw up a chair,

and we'll just sit here and talk. And I'll just wait on you till you

get through. O.K.? You say you live at 200-C ?

L: Yes.

B: Would you mind pulling your chair up just a little bit closer?

That's good. Who was*#ere your people? I know them, but I have to

ask you so it goes down on tape.

L: Virginia Locklear) (he wt5 w f ir s my mother.

B: And where were you born at?

L: Right here in Robeson County, Pembroke.

B: Do you have any brothers or sisters?

L: Yes, I have five brothers and three sisters.

B: Do you have any children?

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L: I have one, Johnny Calahan.

B: How old is he?

L: Well, he was born in 1925 the first of May.

B: What does he do?

L: He's an electrician.

B: I want all the folks listening to this tape to know what a fabu-

lous cook you are. Mrs. Locklear, you cook like I think our Indian

women, I have to brag on them a little bit, you know, and I think

they cook the best food that's ever eaten. And your cooking is ty-

pically like, like the Indian women cook. And do you, do you remember

my grandmother?

L: Sure.

B: Grandpap Marcus is alive.

L: He is a bit fat.

B: Right. I remember when I was a little boy, you know, I would eat

her cooking and I wasn't old enough to know why she cooked better food

than anybody else. But I tried to figure it out and I'd look at her,

and she had a few years on her and her hands were wrinkled, and I

thought in my childish mind that this was because Grandma's hands

were wrinkled. This is why she cooked so well. But she could, she

could cook better than Momma could. She could cook better C4,I u 1 Jf

ef anybody, and the Indian women eke great pride in this, didn't


L: Yes, they did.

B: And do you take pride in your cooking?

L: I sure do.

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B: Do you enjoy your own cooking?

L: Sure.

B: It's got to be good then. You know, I've heard people say

when they cook that it doesn't taste as well as when somebody

else cooks. But if it's cooked right it does, doesn't it?

L: Yes + do .

B: Why don't you tell them what we had for supper tonight.

L: Well, we had reS1&'M baked bread O It was

really good.

B: Oh gosh, that was good. You were brought up in a pretty strict

family in a christian home.

L: Yes.

B: Were your parents very strict on you?

L: Oh yes.

B: Would they spank you if you did wrong?

L: Yes.

B: My grandmother spanked me once to crying. My mother wasn't as,

my mother, Katherine Ann, she wasn't as strict as grandma. And one

day I was crying for something. I was crying for some cake or bread

or something or other, and she told me to just be patient and wait.

And I didn't. I just can remember it. But my grandmother took my

pants down. She said she didn't believe in whipping pants. She wanted

to whip the boy. She really did, too. Did your parents punish like


L: Yes, they did.

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B: How about if you went to school? Some of the children went to

school and they got in trouble in school,and got spanked in school

or got whipped.Then they came home and told their parents about

it, what would the parents do?

L: They would whip him, too.

B: They get two.

L: And if we didn't learn we got a whipping to learn.

B: If you didn't get your lesson you got whipped?

L: That's it. We would learn our lesson.

B: And sometimes they would use little switches, wouldn't they?

L: Uh huh.

B: And it really hurts. Where they switched you around the legs

with those things it wrapped all around.

L: Yes.

B: They weren't very large. But they were just keen little switches

that really burned you.

L: Yes.

B: How about like dating habits? Did they always call bedtime when

you were dating?

L: Oh Yes.

B: About what time would they call bedtime?

L: About nine o'clock.

B: At nine o'clock. And if, if they said bedtime and the fellow didn't

take off right away, what would happen?

L: I'd get in trouble.

B: Do you think things are changing since then?

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L: Yes. Yes, they are.

B: But we're not quite as strict as we used to be, are we?

L: No.

B: But did you ever do, tell me the truth, did you ever do any

dating around at the back of the barn, you know, where you had to

fire the barn up at night and keep the barn going? This time they

wouldn't call bedtime, because somebody had to sit up with that barn

and keep thelogs burning all night.

L: Yes, well, I didn't until I was a little older. .jO

B: I was always glad o to do a little dating around t6e tobacco

barns, because that' Sone time they didn't call bedtime. And I guess

that's still true, although they use more modern tobacco barns.

L: Yes.

B: You don't have to sit up with them.

L: No.

B: But in the old-fashioned tobacco barn you had to check the tem-

perature and the heat ever so often, maybe every twenty or thirty


L: Yes, and they'd just 5I pt P'.

B: Somebody would sit until that...

L: Sitting up.

B: ...that barn was c .",

L: Yes, or lie down and get up and down and watch the barn.

the fire going.

B: Of course I shouldn't be telling about those days so long ago.

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They weren't so very long ago, were they?

L: No. No they weren't.

B: Things have changed very quickly, haven't they?

L: Yes, they has.

B: How about cotton picking? You never did like that, did you?

L: Oh yes.

B: You did?

L: I love to pick cotton.

B: Tell me how much cotton could you pick in a day?

L: I, I couldn't pick but about two hundred. But I really loved

it. I just loved to pick it.

B: Lord, I never picked two hundred in my life. And I had the repu-

ltion of being one of the lazy guys in the community, I guess because

I just couldn't pick cotton. I would try to make that two hundred.

But I never did make it.

L: I could make it. I, I just, if I picked by myself I'd pick up

two hundred every day. I just really loved to pick it.

B: Some people could pick even more. I, I remember hearing about

Alice Bullard and some of the Bullard children picking as much as

five hundred pounds a day.

L: Yes, she did.

B: Boy, that's something. I don't know how in the world they did

it, do you?

L: No, but she did. I remember her Uncli did, too, and /^^'

her brother,; too.

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B: So you go in the fields, so they went in the fields as soon as it

was light enough to see and pick until it was too dark to pickj, I

L: No, they said they'd pick it and leave the f fVIA

B: Is that right?

L: Uh huh.

B: Well, they surely were people and still are people who have the reputa-

tion of being the hardest working people around.

L: That's right.

B: The Bullard family.

L: The Bullard family.

B: Mrs. Locklear, where do you go to church?

L: I got to the l eSn Pembroke.

B: How about different fashions. We were, you were talking something

a little earlier about the way wome fashions have changed. Do you

know I wrote a poem women's fashions that I have a lot of fun with, teasing

young people about their, their dresses. I don't really criticize them.

But I just have a little fun with them. But I know you are a serious

Christian lady, and I want to ask you what do you think about mini-skirts

and things like this?

L: Well, I just don't like them.

B: Say you don't?

L: No, I, I'm against them. I just feel like their parents will pay

for them for the way they let their children dress.

B: Do you think, do you think that maybe these short dresses provoke

the guys, or...

L: Well, I don't know.

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B: ...cause them.. 94 0'

L: I guess 'L,- I feel like it's sin _- come into the world.

B: Is that right? Now of course they've been with us a long time.

Do you think that maybe people are getting used to them?

L: I guess they are.

B: Can you remember how, how long were the skirts when you were a girl?

L: Oh, they was dragging the ground,some of them the older folks wore.

B: How old are you? I shouldn't ask a lady her age, but I'm going to

ask you yours fA

L: I'm sixty-four.

B: You're sixty-four. That's certainly wonderful to live to, to live

to be sixty-four.

L: Yes. And I belong to the Lord. I want to be what he led me to be,

and I want my dress to please him. I think we should dress as soldiers.

We are soldiers to the Lord. There's like soldiers i4bdI fQi CiAr 7c

,r V You know, all of them, the soldiers A It

don't say that, but they do dress everyone aJike. They don't be no

different from, and God's people is soldiers to the Lord, and we should

wear our clothes, we should all be dressed alike, and should be dressed

like we belong to the Lord. And I've got to wear mine like that, because

I've got to be what the Lord Mfi9d-have me to do at all times and all places.

And anywhere I go I don't change. I don't go to the beauty parlor. I

wear my hair j 0 I wear it the same way all the time. I'm

a going where I go. I go to the Lord.

B: I've noticed that the bonnet you wear, this is too typical, this too

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is typically Indian. Like Indian women used to make bonnets, and they

wore those bonnets, and I think yours are beautiful.

L: That's right.

B: And do you like to wear those?

L: Yes. I, I just wears it over here, but I really like to wear them.

B: You like to wear it when you're working, don't you?

L: Uh huh.

B: Could you tell us a little something about, describe the bonnet

and how you made it and everything, because our listeners and readers

probably never saw one. They're very picturesque, and you know...

L: Well, I don't whether I could tell just how is was made or not. It

has /crown on the top and the ruffle on it and a little A J l 4r

And the bow tie is tied in the back.

B: I bet you they wear and wear and wear, that-it's hard to wear one

of them out I bet.

L: That's right. They really wear good.

B: Well, can you wash them? Can you throw them in the washing machine

and wash them?

L: Oh, yes. Throw them right in the wash. Nfthd/'/fA made out of permanent

press, Why you can ironlor you can not. It look$ better with the iron.

B: Uh huh. Do you think people have changed, though, in their attitudes

toward dressing and so on?

L: Oh, yes. They've changed a lot.

B: You walk out on the street now you can see a lot of legs,can't you?

L: Yes, there's much differences ____ .

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B: I imagine guys might like thatfvlM .

L: I don't know. Some of them don't. They'd rather not even sin.

B: I guess you're right. How about schoolbnow. Do you think school's

are changing?

L: Yes, they do. I think they do.

B: Do you think that the teachers are more lenient with students now

than they used to be?

L: I guess they are.

B: Where did you go to school at when you were a girl? Well, you're

still a girl.

L: Well, I was, we were living below Lumberton, and I went tojschool

S__ that way. I don't remember the name of the school. It's

been so long.

B: Have you lived here in Robeson County all your life?

L: Well, most of the time, yes. C

B: Of course you don't look much like an Indian I'm afraidjA You look

pure caucasian. But you are an Indian, aren't you?

L: That's right.

B: Are you proud of it?

L: Sure. I'm really proud of it.

B: We have, many of our people are very bright, aren't they?

L: Yes.

B: Very fair complexioned. I've heard people say, I guess this is

sort of vanity or something, but I've heard people say that we have the

prettiest ____ in the world. Do you believe that?

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L: Yes, we have the prettiestpeople I think there is anywhere. Seems

like I don't care much who I tell that. But we have really beautiful


B: How about their neighborliness, even friendliness?

L: Yes, they're really friendly.

B: If a person wandered through the community and our people knew

he was hungry, he or she, or needed clothing or a place to sleep.

What, what do you think they would do? What would be their reaction?

L: Oh, they would help him. Anything I can do for anybody,anywhere,

I will. Whatever what I have it belongs to the Lord, and I'll divide

anything I have with anybody that needs it. I don't care who they are.

I have a box of cloth'i that sitting in the house, been sitting there

now for a good while to give away and give one box away. I just need

to go through my clothes. I have a lot to give away. I'm a poor per-

son, but the Lord always gives me something to give. I love to give.

B: That's good.

L: That's my calling and to talk to people about the Lord. That's

my calling. I want to do what he'll have me to do. If you don't do what

the Lord will have you to do he'll take it away from you and give it to

somebody else.

B: You know, I've noticed Christians when I was coming up, well, all

my life practically, and some Christians seem very sad and, you know,

well, But you don't. You don't seem sad. You seem very

happy. Are you happy?

L: I sure is. I'm so happy in the Lord I can't tell it. I'm so happy

eome here and the-fe -tha.-. was a Christian early. I 53-5

I'm so happy if I weren't on this ( r I could run. That's how

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happy I is in the Lord

B: Well, you're close to the Lord then, aren't you?

L: Yes, I is. Thank the Lord.

B: Do you live alone?

L: Yes.

B: I know you appreciate the Pembroke Housing Authority...

L: Yes, I do.

B: Could you tell us a little something about that and how much it

means to you and how much it means to other poor people. I'm poor, too,

cause I'm living in one of them, and I think I'm rich to get this

beautiful apartment over here.

L: That's right.

B: And for a long time I thought about coming over here, and people

said, "I don't know whether you'd like it or not." But I, I wanted to

be in a good place where it was quiet, nobody bothered you, and what was

comfortable .P lU e, Tell me something about your apartment

L: Oh, it's so wonderful I can't tell it. I didn't have nowhere to stay.

I just was staying here _._ I had my things in an old bus. But

I just stayed here until I got so tired of this '-. The Lord

let me get my apartment, and I'm so glad of it I can't tell it. And it's so nice,

and like they did everything they could to help, to help poor people.

And I really need it, and I can't thank the Lord enough for it.

B: That's great. And I, I've always talked to people, you know, and I've


Page 13. dib

heard people talk about you quite often about your cleanliness, about

how immaculately clean you want everything to be. And of course you

exercise some of that very wonderful neighborliness. And ^ J

when I moved in here you came over to help me, and you, probably you

asked, you know, I have my visual handicap, and...

L: Yes.

B: ...I don't do things too well. And anyway, I'm not a good house-

keeper and I was sort of lost over here 4 .

L: Yes.

B: And when you came along, oh boy, that made me feel good. And you've,

you've been so kind to help me.

L: Yes.

B: And it's been that way ever since.

L: Yes, I'm really proud of it, too. Really proud that I can help you.

I love to help anybody. Well, that's my calling is to help people and

do something for people. That's what we're supposed to do. We're supposed

to help one another. That's what the Lord wants us to do. We can't live

by ourselves no way.

B: What was this you said about loving the Lord and loving our neighbor?

Do you remember that?

L: Yes, we're supposed to love our neighbor as we do ourself, and the

scriptures say if anybody has something W6A'ome in and they need
something, it says if you,don't say you're in your warm bed and can't

get up 4 C 3bed, say get up and let them have everything they need.

That's scripture.

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B: Well, our people practice that kind of Christianity, don't they?

L: Yes, they do.

B: How about the Prospect community out there? Do you think it's a

little bit different than the other Indian communities in the county?

Do you notice any difference about that? Do you think that people

around Prospect are a little more Indian than other people, if that's


L: Well, they love one another seem like, and help one another.

B: At a certain practical D-' operation

L: That's right.

B: And when one person does something the other people gather around

to help.

L: That's right.

B: Do you remember the way that people used to get together and saw

wood for the winter?

L; That's right.

B: The women in the house would cook food, and d| just get together

and saw enough woof that would last.throughout the winter.

L: That's right.

B: And then after they got through they'd sit down and eat and have

a good time.

L: That's right.

B: Do you think we're getting away from that now?

L: Yes, we're away from that now.

B: Do you think that's a great loss?

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L: Yes, we, we really enjoyed them times back.then. We really enjoyed


B: Wonder why, why do you think people are drifting apart instead of

closer together?

L: Well, I don't know. The Lord is soon a coming. Yes, he's coming.

B: You believe there's a last day...

L: Yes, I do.

B: _..._4 '_

L: Yes, I'm looking for the Lord to come. I tell you he's soon a coming.

B: You wouldn't be surprised if he appeared tonight, would you?

L: No. No.

B: Hwo about home remedies? You know, our Indian people used to have

a remedy for just about anything. And the amazing thing was that those

remedies really worked.

L: That's right. Yes, they do.

B: Herbs, and different ways of, when you, when they had a foal or,

you know.

L: Yes.

B: Nobody, I think we did everything except home operations.

L: Yes.

B: But there certainly were a lot of home remedies.

L: That's right.

B: Do you think we're getting away from that, too?

L: Yes. We sure is.

B: We're depending more and more on drug stores.

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L: Yes.

B: And the doctors more.

L: But I don't like them. I'd rather not take medicine. I'd rather

just trust the Lord.

B: Well. But, you know, if it's available ., -n Hel

| \t I D take advantage of t whatever _w the doctor may


L: Well.

B: Although you know healing, all healing -I"

L: Yes, well, he wants us to trust him. I don't trust him just like I

ought to for healing. I'll go a long time and not take medicine. Maybe

I'll go back But I should just depend on him, because he said

by his strife we'd be healed.

B: Do you think we take too much medicine?

L: Yes, I do. Yes, I do.

B: We're starting to depend on it?

L: Yes.

B: Instead of, instead of nature's healing?

L: That's right.

B: That's very interesting. Is there anything in particular you'd like

to talk about?

L: Well, just to talk about the Lord. I really enjoy that, talking about

the Lord.

B: Tats great.

L: TPr^ : "a-

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B: I think you, you live yours.

L: Yes, I'm ready to go. When he comes I'm ready to go. Thank the Lord.

B: That's great. I envy you very much. I'm sort of, I guess that's a

bad word to use, but I really envy somebody who can be so happy and not

worrying about everything and anything, who does have this faith in the


L: That's right. Well, I have it, thank the Lord. I can't thank him

enough. He means so much to me. He's everything to me. I may not have

a dollar, but I'm happy in him. I know if I need something he can make

the way.

B: He always does it?

L: He always does it. He don't never fail me in nothing. Not in nothing.

B: That's great. That sounds like you, you have a very close relation-

ship with the Lord.

L: That's right.

B: Do you remember going, when you were a girl perhaps, going to what we
11 Arf.r iI
call Brushf Iaer fetings and things like these?

L: Well, I guess so. I guess I did. Tents, maybe going to one of the

tent meetings, maybe !5o 0 tl A C ? wagon.

B: I remember your mother was a very fervent Christian, too, and she

seemed like a very happy Christian, too.

L: Yes.

B: Didn't she strike you that way?

L: Oh, that's all she talked about, the Lord.

B: You never saw her sad...

L: No.


Page 18, dib

B: ...or wearing a long face.

L: Uh uh. (CLf A V)

B: She woke up in the morning and got up and went about her business)

01f her work, and seemed so very happy.

L: That's right. She sure was.

B: Well, you have, within recent years I believe you have built a new

church. I don't think maybe your group would like me to call it a church.

They call it a hall or a chapel, don't they?

L: Yes.

B: A gospel chapel?

L: Yes.

B: But it, you have a new building within recent years.

L: Yes.

B: And then you have another group out at Prospect, in that area?

L: Yes.

B: e fec r^)

L: Uh huh.

B: Isn't there another group? I notice that your group, the Christians

in your group like to be thought of simply as Christians or believers

or the Lord's people without any names.

L: ,_ _" at the Hall Aw just 'Believers in Christ'.

B: Uh huh.

L: No Lr

B: So this is sort of non-denominational?

L: Uh huh.

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B: Is this, have these Christians, these particular Christians

been in this country, have we had groups here for a long, long time?

L: Oh, yes.

B: Did we have them when you were a girl?

L: Well, no. I was about, in the twenties, twenty y maybe

thirty-five CmrIvgvo0t. oi iS .

B: I've heard your group referred to as Plymouth Brethren, or simply

as Brethren. Because I guess simply because it began in Plymouth, England,

is that right? And people usually refer to each other or call each other


L: That's right.

B: And no matter where they see each other it's always 'brother'.

L: That's right.

B: And 'sister'.

L: That's right.

B: I don't know whether you watch the news very often or have close

yard of that, but today I want to, well, let's talk for a moment if you

will about the women's place in the home. How do you feel about this?

You know there is a movement going called the Women's Liberation Movement,

and I agree with some of the things like equal pay for equal work and so

on. Maybe I agree with most of them. But how do you feel...

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