A Birthday Celebration for a Project Pride Founder

One of the founders of Project Pride, Margaret McNeel is celebrating her 80th birthday today with a party at the Baptist Church in Cross Plains. Margaret was one of the driving forces in Project Pride for years. While not out in the forefront like some of the other members, Margaret worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the scheduled events went off without a hitch. Among the many tasks she performed were scheduling the docents for the Howard House tours and organizing the banquet. Her important contributions can’t be measured and every Howard fan owes her a debt of gratitude for her years of dedication and hard work.

Today she will celebrate this birthday milestone surrounded by friends and family, and no doubt a few REHupans will there as well to sing her praises. I hope you all will join me in wishing Margaret a Happy Birthday, with many more to come.

For those who may not know, Project Pride is a community organization in Cross Plains, Texas, that bought and restored the Robert E. Howard home with financial support from Howard’s fans around the world (and from the late Alla Ray Morris, who inherited the rights to Howard’s works). They operate the house as a museum in Howard’s memory, and Project Pride members love the opportunity to show it off for visitors. Robert’s room is particularly well done, complete with an Underwood typewriter like the one he used. The house is not open on a regular basis, so it is best to make arrangements to take a tour in advance by e-mailing or calling the people at Project Pride.

Every June, Project Pride, the City of Cross Plains, REHupa and The Robert E. Howard Foundation sponsor and host Howard Days, a two day event during which a special commemorative cancellation is available at the Cross Plains Post Office, t-shirts, books, posters and other merchandise is sold in the museum’s Gift Shop and tours of the home are available. Also, the Cross Plains Public Library puts on display some of Howard’s original manuscripts, along with pulps and books featuring his writings. It’s a great way for Howard fans of all ages to get to know more about Howard and the environment in which he lived.

While much has been done in the 22 years since Project Pride bought the house, a lot remains to be done, and Cross Plains is not a wealthy community. Any support from Howard fans — either through joining Project Pride, or through donations earmarked for the Howard Home — helps with the ongoing efforts to preserve Howard’s memory in his hometown.

For more information or to arrange for a visit, e-mail either Era Lee Hanke or Arlene Stephenson, or call 254-725-6562 or 254-725-4993.

Anyone can support Project Pride by becoming member of the organization. Membership is $3.00 per year for individuals or $5.00 for a family. Membership fees and other donations may be mailed to: Project Pride, P.O. Box 534, Cross Plains, TX 76443.