Literacy event shining spotlight on Black authors

Book signing set for this evening at Mahony Library

Veronica Smith-Creer
Veronica Smith-Creer

In honor of Black History Month, the NAACP - El Dorado chapter is inviting the community to celebrate Black authors with a book signing at 5:30 p.m. today in the South Arkansas Community College Library Auditorium, 300 Summit Dr.

The event will feature authors who have roots in El Dorado and Union County and NAACP members are particularly encouraging local churches and youth-centered organizations to bring young people to the book signing.

The purpose of the event is to encourage diverse literacy in the community and to show all children they should see themselves represented in all books, the NAACP said.

Featured authors include:

• Former El Dorado Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer with her children's book, "My Mimi is the Mayor." Smith said the book was inspired by her 4-year-old granddaughter, who was born at the start of her tenure as mayor (2019 - 2022).

"She's only ever known me as mayor," Smith-Creer said.

A 1988 graduate of El Dorado High School who holds an associate of arts degree in education from SouthArk, Smith-Creer is also the first woman and first person of color to serve as mayor of El Dorado.

• The Rev. Dr. Odell Carr, who will present his release, "Resurrecting the Black Mind."

Carr, a Forrest City native, received his bachelor's degree in education from Philander Smith College in Little Rock.

He holds a master's degree in theology and a doctorate of philosophy from the Texarkana Baptist Seminary in Texarkana.

Carr is a former educator in the El Dorado and North Little Rock public school systems and he retired after 21 years with the South Arkansas Developmental Center for Children and Families in El Dorado.

He has served as pastor of the New St. Mary Baptist Church in Camden for 19 years.

"Resurrecting the Black Mind," Carr's first published book, was released in April of 2022.

The work focuses on the contributions that Black people have made to global civilization -- contributions that have largely been omitted from the world record.

• LaTasha Woods, the author of "Top Draft Pick," a short fiction romance novel, and "Dollars and $ense: Financial Literacy for Kids."

Woods, a 1992 graduate of El Dorado High School, lives in Atlanta, Georgia and is an an author, civil servant, financial literacy consultant and health coach.

She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in organizational communication and an MS in human resources management.

Woods has said that one of her goals is to spread financial literacy and credit education and that she loves helping others, particularly "the younger generation" get on the right path to financial freedom.

"It is so important to teach the younger generation to prevent them from learning through trial and error," Woods said.

With the release of her two books, Woods is a regional best-selling author.

She was featured in the June 2022 edition of "Shout Out Atlanta" magazine.

• Pearline Gill, the author of "Pearls of Wisdom, My Journey to Success" and "The Voice of Fear."

Gill is a Strong native who graduated from SouthArk with an associate's degree in Criminal Justice.

She then earned a bachelor's in Criminal Justice, with a minor in psychology, from Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia.

In August of 2020, Gill graduated from SAU with a master's degree in public administration.

"Pearls of Wisdom," Gill's first book, and "The Voice of Fear," which was released in 2021, chronicle Gill's life and educational experiences as a non-traditional student at SouthArk.

Of "Pearls," Gill said, "This book is an inspiration to all because you are never too old to achieve your dreams. With God and the right attitude, nothing is impossible."

For more information call Janice Bush, president of the NAACP - El Dorado chapter, at 870-863-7437.

photo The Rev. Dr. Odell Carr
photo LaTasha Woods
photo Pearline Gill