Lee Landrus Wicks Oral History

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Record 12/16
Copyright HSKC and Tyler Campbell
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Date 08/05/1982
Abstract Lee Landrus Wicks (born 1904)

Landrus Wicks was born in Chestertown and was raised in the black community called Broadneck. Wicks attended Broadneck School, a primary school that went to seventh grade and Garnett High School, and remembers only two children from Broadneck going on for more schooling. He recalls that about a hundred or more black families lived in Broadneck in the early 1900s. "At that time…mostly everyone did farm work." Only the Comegys family owned their own farm." The men who worked on the farms earned a salary, but "their rent was free. They just lived in and out of the house. The men worked on the farm, and the lady, she did the cooking in the kitchen."

Broadneck was a tight knit community, especially during hard times. "Now when my father died he was laid out in the front room…didn't do no cooking, nothing. Just like you were
having a service. Everything was quiet. Maybe some people would come in and they'd sing, raise a hymn. They have a prayer or so and that would be until they got ready for the funeral." The family did not have to do any cooking, as the neighbors brought in all the food. He recalls the death of one woman's husband: "She had quite a few children and the community, the people, helped her all through the winter. They carried cut wood and hauled wood for her…They bought groceries and…shoes and things for the children."

Wicks traces the decline of the black community at Broadneck to the increasing use of farm machinery. The farmers no longer needed as many laborers, and "the people moved out of Broadneck. They went looking for other jobs. Wicks left as well, attending boarding school and Dover, serving as a staff sergeant in the Army, and working at the Pentagon and for the Navy Department. After his retirement in 1975, he returned to his childhood community.

5 original cassette tapes.
Interview date 08/05/1982
Media Compact Disc
Narrator Wicks, Lee Landrus
Object ID 2685
Object Name Disc, Compact
Title Lee Landrus Wicks Oral History
COPYRIGHT INFORMATION ~ Oral histories copyright Historical Society of Kent County. Images copyright Tyler Campbell. Duplication or publication only with permission.

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Last modified on: September 07, 2012