Walmart officials assured surviving relatives of Coffee and those of his former household staffers that the megastore would avoid harming the burial grounds. They even pledged $25,000 to restore the moldering bone garden, although only with the community's acknowledgement that Walmart would no longer be able to afford the salaries of the six greeters it had planned to hire from the local area.
Parker Milts, general manager for the forthcoming Florence store, promised that Walmart officials will do everything within their power to prevent any desecration to the graves or historical integrity of the plot.
"Walmart has a strong commitment to honoring America's values, its past, and the local cultures we serve," Milts told residents in a public address Tuesday. "Part of that tradition involves embracing even the dark moments of our times -- in this case, slavery. Which, as you know, revolved around problems with dark people. By that, I of course mean 'dark' in the sense of hue. Not 'dark' as in troubled or malcontent. I mean, who knows what their souls may have been like, if they even had them? Point is -- at Walmart, we would never do anything to trample the memories of slaves. Slaves, whether you know it or not, are a vital part of how we keep prices so low. The factories where we make your clothes or assemble the electronics you buy rely on a labor force of forced labor. Mostly children -- millions of 'em in sweatshops across 48 countries."
And Walmart's commitment to slavery doesn't end there, according to Milts: "Walmart's corporate policy includes crushing living standards in America, forbidding workers from unionizing, reducing staffing needs by using 'project-based contractors' from over the border, and extending solid employment opportunities at federally mandated wages for all workers we displace after running other local businesses into the ground. When the blacks came to America and couldn't find work or feed their families, folks here was kind enough to open their big old manses, give them shelter, and offer up an honest day's work. Today, in that same spirit, Walmart is here for folks in similar need. So we assure the fine people of Florence that we value slaves as much as you do, and we'll do everything in our power to make sure that slavery continues to thrive in your community."
(c) 2012. See disclaimers.