- Marks, Martin, and the Mule Train (1998)
by Kristen Armstrong (SHS) 2001
In Marks, Mississippi, Hilliard Lawrence Lackey, III, was born to the late Hilliard Lawrence Lackey, Jr., and Cora Lackey on October 9, 1942. Hilliard L. Lackey was an Assistant Professor of History and Alumni President (2004 to 2010) before he became Assistant to the Executive Vice President for External Affairs at Jackson State University (1967 to 2002). He also taught at LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis in 2003-2004 and parts of 2005 and 2006.
Lackey earned three degrees from Jackson State University: Bachelors of Arts in History and Political Science, Master’s of Science Degree in Education Administration/Supervision and the Education Specialist Degree in Educational Administration. Lackey also earned a Master’s of Arts in Historical Geography at the University of Arkansas and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Higher Education Administration at the University of Mississippi.
Lackey’s hobbies include being a football referee and baseball umpire. He is a columnist for the Mississippi Link, St. Louis American, Clarksdale Press Register, and The Scoop. In addition, Lackey is a television program host for Scope and radio news director of WMPR radio.
Hilliard L. Lackey is married to the former Lillian Troupe, a math teacher at Powell Middle School (Marks, Martin and the Mule Train book jacket). They are the parents of four children: Dr. Katrina Lackey Davis, a Medical Doctor at the University of Tennessee Medical School; Hilliard L. Lackey, IV, a recipient of a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas; Tahirih Charryse Lackey, a Ph. D candidate at Georgia Tech; and Darryl William Lackey, an undergraduate student at Jackson State University.
Lackey became interested in writing at an early age. While in elementary school, Lackey would read comic strips and write his own (interview). Lackey published Marks, Martin and the Mule Train in 1998. According to Lackey, guilt inspired him to write this book (Interview). No one had written about the events of the mule train. Lackey decided it needed be done, so he wrote Marks, Martin and the Mule Train. In order to be a good writer Lackey says, ” …just ‘write. Express yourself, let the creative juices flow…” (Interview).
Lackey retired from Jackson State in 2010 and is currently a senior education consultant for Young Sanford Marketing and Media Services in Memphis, where he now lives. He continues to write essays and articles for various newspapers.
- 1942 Born on October 9
- 1961 Graduated from high school on May 22.
- 1963 Employment at Monsanto Chemical Co., St. Louis, Missouri
- 1964-66 Employment at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
- 1965 Graduated with bachelors from Jackson State University on May 31.
- 1965-67 Attended University of Arkansas.
- 1967- Employed at Jackson State University.
- 1966 Married on October 15.
- 1968 Published Marks, Martin and Mule Train.
- 1969 First child born: Katrina Raquel Lackey, March 25.
- 1972 Second child born: Hilliard Lawrence Lackey IV, June 20.
- 1975 Graduated from Jackson State University with Masters on August 9.
- 1976 Third child born: Tahirih Charryse Lackey, May 26.
- 1977 Forth child born: Darryl William Lackey, June 25.
- 1979- Football referee and baseball umpire.
- 1982 Graduated from Jackson State University with Education Specialist on August 7.
- 1991 Graduated from University of Miss with Ph.D. on May 18.
- 1998- Television interview program for Scope
- 2004-2010 — President of the Jackson State University Alumni Association and a senior education consultant for Young Sanford Marketing and Media Services in Memphis
A Review of Marks, Martin, and the Mule Train: Marks, Mississippi–Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Origin of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign Mule Train
Marks, Martin and the Mule Train, the story of the origin of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign, is one of the best books I’ve read; one that reveals an important historical event that happened in Mississippi. The book begins with the background history of the conditions in Marks, a small town in Mississippi , to help the reader understand the importance of the Mule Train and its major effect on Mississippi. The setting takes place in Marks, Mississippi, which is located in the Mississippi Delta, in the spring of 1968. Poverty was common in this region for many black people. There were few jobs and many were hungry. Marks, Martin, and the Mule Train mentions two visits that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., made to Marks. The first visit King made was very touching because he began to cry when he and Dr. Ralph David Abernathy watched a teacher feed her students four apples and a box of crackers from a paper bag (Prologue). This incidents was one of the incidents that lead to the beginning of the long preparation for the mule train. The mule train was made up of protesters riding in covered wagons pulled by mules protesting for jobs, food and justice. The train began in Marks, Mississippi and traveled to Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph David Abernathy were the leaders for the train. Because of the assassination of King, Abernathy continued the journey Marks, Martin and the Mule Train tells of the many hardships this train encountered.
I really enjoyed the book Marks, Martin and the Mule Train. Reading this book also gave me a history lesson because I never knew this event ever took place. I really respect the people who participated in the mule train because they were brave and had a lot of patience to endure the long journey. I admire them because their bravery and patience led the way for all poor people to have free or have reduced meals in schools and make housing and facilities available to minorities that were not available before that time.
by Kristen Armstrong (SHS)
1. When did you become interested in writing?
I became interested in writing while a preschooler. Reading and writing have always fascinated me.
2. What inspired you to become a writer?
At first, it was reading comic strips and trying to make my own during elementary school. Later, it was love letters to my girl friend(s). Consequently, I became a history and political science major where reading and writing were intricate parts of the curriculum. Somehow, I became associate editor of the Jackson State University campus newspaper. In graduate school, writing is a mainstay of the curriculum, and I earned five degrees, which required highly scrutinized writing.
3. What is most challenging when writing a book?
The toughest part is staying focused and staying on task. There is something summarily called “Writer’s Block” which inhibits creativity and causes lapses in writing.
4. What inspired you to write Marks, Martin, and the Mule Train?
Guilt. I had wanted so much to go on the Mule Train but as a rookie employee here at Jackson State University I was skeptical about leaving my job right before the end of the semester. Later, I found that no one, absolutely no one, had written about the Mule Train, and it appeared to me that someone should. Secondly, the people on the Mule Train loomed as heroes and heroines to me. I wanted so much for the world to understand and appreciate what they had done. Because of them, we now have free and reduced meals for school children, Pell Grants for college students, fair housing for home seekers, and numerous other rights and privileges under the law. This drove me to write when I didn’t feel up to the task.
5. Who is your favorite author?
My favorite author is Zora Neale Hurston, who wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God and so on.
6. What advice or encouraging words would you give to a beginning writer?
Aspiring writers should just “write.” Express yourself, let the creative juices flow. “May the force be with you.” It would be well to have some measuring stick or critique made of one’s writings. This could be accomplished by entering contests, submitting manuscripts for publications, etc. But, the one thing to do is write, write, and write some more.
- Hilliard Lackey’s LinkedIn page
- Dr. Hilliard Lackey guest speaker for Callaway graduation (Jackson Advocate, 2012)
- “Hilliard Lawrence Lackey.” Jackson State University. MS: JSU. HTTP:// www.jsums.edu> 26 March 2001.
- Lackey, Hilliard Lawrence. E-mail Interview. 29 March 2001.
- Lackey, Hilliard Lawrence. Marks, Martin, and the Mule Train. Jackson, MS: Town Square Books, Inc., 1998.
- Lackey, Hilliard Lawrence. Personal interview. Jackson State University. 18 April 2001.