Family members remember former KNOE host Earnie Miles

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GRAMBLING, La. (KNOE 8 News) - An ArkLaMiss broadcasting legend has passed away. Earnie Miles died Wednesday morning at the age of 89.

Earnie Miles (Courtesy: KNOE)
Earnie Miles (Courtesy: KNOE)

Earnie Miles made history in the ArkLaMiss at KNOE as the first African-American reporter, but he didn't start in news.

"I put 'em on tape, and put em on the air," Miles said in a previous documentary interview, produced by Jennifer Schmeer. "I didn't learn no journalism, I had no journalism... I only knew the 5 W's- Who, What, Why, When and Where."

Miles started working as a teacher in Winnfield, breaking racial barriers during a time of segregation. Eventually, he picked up a job as a reporter, working despite death threats and learning along the way.

Earnie Miles made a home for himself in front of the camera, but his true home was in Grambling with family, living there for the past fifty years.

"He would always get this big smile on his face. He loved hearing how much people loved his show, and hearing how their lives were touched by it," Rita Miles Billups, his daughter, said.

Miles was also a family man. His home is filled with pictures of loved ones and his wife Clara.

"He's my life, my love," Clara Miles said. "65 years, and I'll be with him as long as the good Lord leaves him here with me."

Family members tell me family and faith were two of his biggest strengths, and he used his experience as a traveler to teach others.

"Do you remember any of the lessons he taught you," I asked his grandson, Earnest Miles III.

"Pick a lesson," Earnest said, laughing. "I don't think in his mind he ever thought 'Hey, what if I can't do this?' It was 'Hey, here's what I want to do, this is what I believe in."

Carving out his spot in TV history with one of the most watched shows of its kind in Northeast Louisiana.

Earnie Miles touched many lives in the ArkLaMiss. Grambling State University President Dr. Rick Gallot issued the following statement:

"Earnie Miles has always been an important part of the Grambling and GSU communities. He had far-reaching church and community connections, and he had such a strong historical knowledge. He will be missed."

Upon learning about the death of local legend Mr. Earnie Miles, Mayor Jamie Mayo issues the following statement:

"We are all saddened to hear of the loss of legendary television and community personality Earnie Miles. He was a household icon and trailblazer. As a reporter and television show host, he informed, educated and inspired the lives of countless viewers. He will surely be missed." -- Mayor Jamie Mayo.

Visitation will be held Monday, January 30th from 2-6 P.M. at King's Funeral Home, located at 1151 W. California Avenue in Ruston. The funeral will be held Tuesday, January 31st at 10 A.M. at Mount Zion Baptist Church, located at 2586 Highway 150 in Grambling. Internment will follow the funeral at Grambling Memorial Garden on Highway 80 West.