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LaMargo Branch's collection of traditional African clothing and artifacts is on display in the Denton campus library.

Events celebrate African American contributions

A book event and Black History Month displays at TWU Libraries celebrate the contributions of African Americans to the fields of literature, history and culture, and medicine.

The Blagg Huey Library on TWU’s Denton campus will host a celebration of “Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick,” a collection of stories by Zora Neale Hurston, at 10 a.m., Monday, Feb. 24, in the library living room.

Genevieve West, professor and chair of TWU’s Department of English, Speech and Foreign Languages, edited and wrote the introduction for the book. West will discuss her connection to the project, process behind her work and a reading of “She Rock” followed by Q&A from the audience. Refreshments will be provided.

“Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick” has been reviewed by the New York Times and has maintained a 4 ½ star rating on Amazon. This collection of eight “recovered” stories written by Zora Neale Hurston include unique perspectives on the topics of race, love and social imbalances all told with a twist of humor. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event and available for reserve at the library.

The Denton campus library also displays a collection of traditional African attire and artifacts for Black History Month.

LaMargo Branch, coordinator of interlibrary loans, has curated items from her personal collection for the exhibit. These items specifically celebrate the history of traditional African clothing and artifacts from countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Viewers will see the cultural symbolism incorporated within each piece.

“Each year I share these items from my personal collection so the university and community can experience for a moment what the African culture is all about,” says Branch, adding that she began the collection in Illinois as a way to help local students learn about their culture. As the collection grew, she would meet individuals of African descent who were willing to sell her pieces, which enabled her collection to grow to more than 200 items. Among her favorites are pieces that the sellers asked her to never sell. 

"There is a drum in the collection that is one of a kind. The wood it is made of is now against the law to cut down that particular tree," she says.

The exhibit runs through Feb. 29 inside the Blagg-Huey Library. It is free and open to the public whenever the library is open. For library hours, visit or call 81-3701.

Staff members at TWU’s Dallas campus library have created “Black History Month: a medical perspective,” a four-panel, chronological poster presentation spotlighting African Americans and their vital contributions to the field of medicine over the last four centuries. The display also features an interactive iPad quiz on the many individuals featured.

The library’s display cabinet features ornaments and decorations from Ethiopia, brought in by library services specialist Tsigereda Teketele. The cabinet also contains a selection of books chosen by Kim Richardson, coordinator of circulation services.