By Alicia Lacy
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE – The Copperas Cove Wal-Mart pulled all the stops for its Black History Month program, "A New Vision: Respect for the Past, Ambition for the Future," which was the biggest the store has done.
The daylong event showcased several dance groups and singing acts. One presentation was the code of the quilts on Feb. 21.
Josie Hall of Kempner told the story "Hidden in Plain Sight" about how slaves used to communicate through quilts.
"Even though you weren't allowed to read or write, and even though it was against the law for you to know anything in the sense, our ancestors still did not give up," Hall said. "What they did was took the pieces of material and sewed them together and by sewing them together they could produce a code to talk to one another. With the quilts they were able to speak to one another and say, 'Hey, you don't have to give up, there's always someone there,'" Hall said about how the message of the quilts can still be used today.
Hall, a Pennsylvania native, became interested in the quilts through her husband's great-great-grandmother.
"I was very much surprised to find out that a lot of the patterns and a lot of the things that were made were actually made by African-Americans. They actually came from a person's heart that wanted to talk to one another and find freedom," she said.
Kiwana Speed's favorite part of the program was the story of the quilts. "There are so many of us. I feel that all of us should know where we came from," Speed said.
At the beginning of the program, Copperas Cove's oldest resident, Edna Mathias, 103, was presented with flowers and a quilt made by Wal-Mart associates.
Vera Oxendine, Wal-Mart operations manager; Wendy Jones, support manager; and Linda LeSane, assistant manager, worked together to organize this year's event.
"We've come a long way and we're united now," Oxendine said.
Midway through the day's event, Wal-Mart presented the Sickle Cell Anemia Association of Central Texas with a check for $1,000 after the Babysitter from KIIZ 92.3 FM did a live broadcast for the event.
Dora Rojas, Wal-Mart's community involvement coordinator, said Wal-Mart challenged the Babysitter to raise funds matching Wal-Mart's contribution.