2010 Archives

Njoki McElroy tells her story and others' as SMU teacher and author


The following is from the April 25, 2010, edition of The Dallas Morning News. Njoki McElroy teaches in the Master of Liberal Studies program in SMU's Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

The Dallas Morning News

There is no doubt that Njoki McElroy, perhaps one of America's pre-eminent storytellers, has the gift of gab.

"In the first class I took with her, we all gave her the nickname – 'Queen Professor,' " says Pamela Gray Ventouras, a former student of McElroy's at Southern Methodist University. "She is not only regal in how she carries herself, but she is such a queen in her profession." 

When McElroy does speak, listeners hang on every purpose-filled phrase, as if she were a beloved monarch.

"When she starts talking, people crane their necks to listen to the next word," said Jolyn Robichaux, a friend and contemporary. "That's a talent. That's a skill."

It's a skill that McElroy, who teaches interpretation of African-American literature, recently focused on her own life. She published her memoir, 1012 Natchez ... A Memoir of Grace, Hardship and Love, through Dallas' Brown Books.

Read the full story.

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