San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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February 25th, 2010
Commission’s ‘Voices’ project features Ollie Giles for Black History Month

Ollie Giles


The Hays County Historical Commission continues its “Voices of Hays County History” series Sunday, February 28, by turning the spotlight on Ollie Giles, a long-time San Marcos resident and community activist.

In conjunction with Black History Month, the oral history screening will begin at 4 p.m. at Jackson Chapel, located at 524 Centre Street.

During the videotaped interview, which was conducted by Historical Commission member Jim Cullen and filmed at the Dunbar Recreation Center, Giles discusses her early life in San Marcos and her involvement over the years in a wide-range of social issues and community activities.

Born in San Marcos in 1933, Giles recalls that her earliest childhood years exposed her to segregation, though she notes no harmful effects from her early life here. She spent a number of years with her mother in California, graduating from high school and marrying the first of her three husbands.

Returning to San Marcos as a young mother, Giles established an independent professional woman’s life at a time when it was uncommon and somewhat difficult, especially for an African-American woman. Over the past 50 years, her seven children have grown, gained an education, and prospered. Along the way, Giles has become one of the most admired and most unforgettable individuals in present-day San Marcos.

Recognized as a member of the San Marcos Women’s Hall of Fame, Giles said she enjoys the city’s recognition of her forthright manner of expressing her views about righting “wrongs.”

Presented free of charge, the oral history screening is open to the public.

Historical Commission member Richard Kidd is the producer and editor of the “Voices of Hays County History” video series, with Bonnie Eissler as sound technician. Copies of the Ollie Giles DVD will be available at the screening.

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