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Mrs. Giles honored by Wal-Mart at Black History Celebration

By Joe Starkey

 

 

Wal- Mart celebrated Black History month by honoring “Moma” Ella Mae Giles. She was remembered by Mr. Petty Hunter as a black woman who worked “retail in an age when Blacks were not allowed to buy in most stores in Abilene”. He told of meeting Jesse Owens who told him a story of coming to Abilene shortly after winning in the 1936 Olympics. He was racing horses on foot across the US to earn a living. Invited by a group of businessmen to come {{more}} to Abilene, the man picking him up decided to purchase him a set of clothes for the weekend. The manager met them on the walk and told the man “we don’t serve them in here” but Mr. Owens remembered both that he enjoyed the weekend here and that there was a lady of color working inside the store where he was not allowed to purchase clothing. That was Mrs. Giles. “America” opened the program by the store choir and was followed by an invocation. The Macedonia Church praise dancers entertained along with several other dance groups. Helping people remember what was by telling them who they were and how their resumes got them to where they were in their lives were three KTAB employees who contrasted “what was – a notice of auction giving the skills and abilities of slaves up for sale” and what is “college, job skills and duties at the TV station” to the gathered crowd. The ceremony ended with presentations of roses and gifts by the Wal-Mart staff to Mrs. Giles.

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