Title: Oral History Interview with Samuel James (S. J.) and Leonia Farrar, May 28, 2003. Interview K-0652.
Interviewer: Van Scoyoc, Peggy
Interviewee: Farrar, Samuel James (S. J.)
Abstract: This interview is a chronicle of a lifetime of hard work. Samuel and Leonia Farrar both grew up in poverty in rural Chatham County, North Carolina, although Samuel's family was poorer than Leonia's. Samuel tried to follow his father into the sharecropping business, but became so frustrated with his treatment by his white landlord he left his farm and tried to make his way in Durham, marrying Leonia in 1949 and taking her with him. By 1951, homesick and overworked, Samuel and Leonia returned to farm life. But racism drove the couple from their rented farmland, and in 1957 Farrar built the Cary home where the interview took place in 2003. The Farrars reflect upon their lives in this interview, recalling decades of manual labor, saving money, raising a family, and enduring racial discrimination from landlords, coworkers, and others. Their hard work, always a source of pride, eventually offered other rewards as well: Samuel became a minister, eventually supervising twenty-three churches, and after years of work as a beautician, Leonia found her calling in charitable work.