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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

ORAL HISTORY

Callie Locklear


Callie's Convenience Store

Callie Locklear grew up in a sharecropping family in the Buie community of North Carolina, north of Pembroke, in the 1940s. From a very young age she helped her mother raise a household of fourteen children and worked on the farm putting up tobacco and cotton. She missed school for months and returned far behind the other students.

At eighteen, with three dollars in her pocket, Callie caught a bus to New York City and for a short time worked as a nanny. She returned to Robeson County in the early 1960s, supporting her family by sewing in several of the textile manufacturing plants that once provided jobs in Robeson County. Those factories have long closed their doors. Callie worked at a restaurant in Pembroke on the side and decided that if she was going to work so hard for everyone else, she might as well work for herself. In 1987 she opened Callie’s Convenience Store.

Long before sunrise, Callie cooks breakfast for local farmers and sheetrockers (a trade practiced by many Lumbee men). She serves eggs, liver pudding, sausage, flour bread and molasses. Many of the farmers return for her daily lunch specials, which range from pork chops, cabbage, and potatoes on Monday to local spot, croaker, or catfish on Fridays. Sometimes after she’s closed, Callie will stick around the restaurant for a little peace and quiet.

Date of interview:
2014-07-01

Interviewer:
Sara Wood

Photographer:
Sara Wood

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