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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. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

< Back to Oral History project: Lumbee Indians of NC: Work and Cook and Eat


Emma Locklear

Lumbee Fish Market

Emma Locklear began managing Lumbee Fish Market soon after her uncles, Matthew and Joseph Jones, opened the business in 2007. When Joseph fell ill and Matthew, a pastor, felt called back to the church, Emma took over the business. Lumbee Fish Market sits between the most bustling Town of Pembroke, and the wide and rural Prospect community.

She splits her time between the Lumberton Correctional Institution, where she works as an officer, and the fish market, where she works with most of her family members. With the proximity to so many swamps and rivers, fishing is abundant in Robeson County. Each day local fishermen bring in catch from the Atlantic Ocean and its tributaries: shrimp, flounder, perch, catfish, mullet, and the very popular spots and croaker. Emma sells to nearby restaurants and customers, and also cleans fish brought in by those who’ve spent their day fishing on many of the nearby swamps and rivers.

Date of interview:

Sara Wood

Sara Wood

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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