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Updated Saturday, February 06, 2010 6:20 PM

Black History Month celebrations begin on Friday



Local African American leaders will begin celebrating Black History Month Friday by honoring Dr. Njoki McElroy, professor, author and folklorist, who has just published her memoir "1012 Natchez." The book's title refers to McElroy's grandfather's address in Sherman, where she spent summer days of her childhood.

On Saturday, the Red River Historical Museum will hold a book signing and reception for McElroy, who will begin the event at 1 p.m. with readings from her book. McElroy will remain at the museum, signing copies of her book until 3 p.m.

Feb. 20, Texoma Black Expo will be held from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Feb. 20 in Sid Richardson Center on the Austin College Campus.

The full title of McElroy's book is "1012 Natchez: A Memoir of Joy, Hardship and Love."

From 5 -7 p.m., the Grayson County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will honor McElroy with a "Meet and Greet" at the organization's headquarters, 1000 N. East Street. McElroy will autograph copies of her book at this event, too.

McElroy was born in Sherman, grew up in Dallas and New Orleans, La., and moved to Chicago, Ill., during the Great Migration period. A graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans, she received master's and doctor's degree from the School of Speech at Northwestern University where she taught for 35 years.

A noted folklorist, McElroy is also a storyteller, playwright and author. She developed black literature courses at Northwestern and founded the "Back Home Folk Festival," an annual event in Texas and Illinois. Her new book, from which she will read excerpts at the book-signing, is about growing up in Texas during the Jim Crow years, coming of age in New Orleans, and her eventual move to Chicago. McElroy currently teaches in the MLS program at Southern Methodist University.

For more information on the museum event, contact museum director, Marcia Rolbiecki, at 903-893-7623.

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