“Let’s Roll This Train” is a memoir by one of New Mexico’s leading educators and public servants, Dr. Lenton Malry. Malry will give a talk at Mesa Public Library, 7 p.m. Thursday, in the Upstairs Rotunda.
Malry is a great storyteller, and he has an inspiring story to tell, having been raised in the segregated South at a time when access to housing, education, employment and even recreation were limited for Black people. His family prized education and public service and he has combined those two aspects of his upbringing in everything he has accomplished.
It was his passion for education that led him to first become a teacher, then to become the first African American to receive his Ph. D in education from the University of New Mexico, and on to become the first African American school principal in Albuquerque.
He was the first African American elected to the New Mexico Legislature and the first African American Bernalillo County Commissioner. “But it wasn’t necessarily all about being the first black person elected; it was about being effective,” Malry said in the book. “Regardless of what obstacles may exist, one can overcome them with a clear and sound message. The other firsts that I achieved were also important, not necessarily for me but for other blacks and minorities, especially children, to realize that through education one can accomplish much.”
He served in the New Mexico legislature from 1968 to 1978, where his proudest accomplishment was a bill that provided for kindergartens in all New Mexico public schools. Malry was influential in changing New Mexico from a state where in 1962, covenants were still in place restricting African-Americans from purchasing a home, to a state where diversity is respected and celebrated.
Malry’s talk will be followed by a book-signing.
The Authors Speak Series is a monthly event featuring local and regional authors speaking about their writing on a variety of subjects such as local and state history, travel, outdoor activities, fiction, Native American history and culture, poetry and more. The series is funded by the Friends of the Los Alamos County Library System. The talks are free and begin at 7 p.m., on the fourth Thursday of each month, followed by the opportunity to meet the authors and enjoy refreshments.
The following links lead to two television interviews with Malry: