Lenton Malry’s journey from segregated Louisiana to a distinguished career in public service in New Mexico is chronicled in the inspiring memoir, Let’s Roll This Train: My Life in New Mexico Education, Business, and Politics.
Malry, who lives in Albuquerque and continues to serve the public on boards and commissions, worked as a teacher on the Navajo Reservation, as a public school administrator in Albuquerque, and as a commissioner in Bernalillo County. He was also the first African American elected to the New Mexico state legislature and the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in education from The University of New Mexico.
“I never minded hard work,” Malry says in his memoir. “I’ve literally and figuratively plowed more fields in my life than I care to remember. I was the first in my family to graduate from college, and I was the first black person to receive a Ph.D. in education administration from The University of New Mexico.”
In addition to those firsts, Malry and his wife were the first black family to integrate Albuquerque’s Ridgecrest neighborhood in the Southeast Heights and the first black members of the First Baptist Church on the edge of downtown Albuquerque. He also served as the first black male teacher and the first black school principal in the Albuquerque Public School District. Malry was also the first black state legislator in New Mexico’s history as well as the first black Bernalillo county commissioner.
“All of these were accomplishments that I never dreamed could or would happen to me when I was a child working on my parents’ farm near Shreveport, Louisiana,” he said.
“Lenton Malry’s ‘can-do’ attitude is the common denominator in this memoir, which takes us through some important changes in New Mexico’s political history,” said former legislator Dede Feldman, and author of Inside the New Mexico Senate: Boots, Suits, and Citizens. “As an educator and public servant, Malry was on the cutting edge of many of these changes. . . . We could sure use some of that old-school dedication to public service today.”
Let’s Roll This Train: My Life in New Mexico Education, Business, and Politics is available at bookstores or directly from The University of New Mexico Press.
To order, call (800) 249.7737 or visit UNM Press.