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Marks in Quitman County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
 

Marks Mule Train and Poor Peoples Campaign

 

— Mississippi Freedom Trail —

 
Marks Mule Train & Poor Peoples Campaign Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, May 23, 2021
1. Marks Mule Train & Poor Peoples Campaign Marker
Inscription.  In March 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. visited Marks to get support for a Poor People's Campaign. He envisioned masses converging on Washington in a plea for new anti-poverty projects. King wanted the march to begin in Mississippi, with mules and wagon trains. After King's death on April 4 the SCLC organized the Marks Mule Train, which left May 13 in inclement weather. Though finally forced to travel via other transportation, Mississippians joined others in the National Mall encampment called Resurrection City.

Mule Train March Martin Luther King, Jr., determined that a second Poor People's Campaign, a massive march similar to one in 1963, was needed to help end extreme poverty in America. On visits to Marks, Mississippi, in 1966 and 1968, he was shocked by the number of destitute families and impoverished schools there. He decided to launch the campaign's march on Washington, DC, from Marks, using mule-drawn wagons to dramatize its theme.

When Dr. King was assassinated in April 1968, his lieutenants decided to go on with his plan for the campaign. Ralph David Abernathy, Andrew Young, James Bevel, and Willie Bolden

Marks Mule Train & Poor Peoples Campaign Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brother Rogers - mdah.ms.gov
2. Marks Mule Train & Poor Peoples Campaign Marker
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came to Marks and began to organize, meeting with community activists at the Eudora A.M.E. Zion church, and planning three rallies prior to the Mule Train march. Marchers began to converge on the town, staying with local families and in churches. Mules for the wagons were brought in from outside Marks, as they had been long displaced by mechanized tractors.

Torrential rain delayed the marchers. Inexperience with harnessing and shoeing mules and assembling covered wagons also contributed to the caravan's late departure—about ten days later than scheduled. Finally, on May 13, approximately fifty people, including Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) staff, set off in about fifteen covered wagons drawn by two mules each. Two cars and a truck accompanied the Mule Train carrying portable toilets, food, and belongings. Separately, twelve Greyhound buses were carrying additional marchers to the Washington site.

The Mule Train headed out Highway 6 to Batesville, then southward to Grenada and Winona, then east to Columbus and on to Montgomery and Birmingham, Alabama, and finally to Atlanta, Georgia, where mules and passengers boarded trains for Washington, DC. Along the way passengers slept in wagons, cars, churches, and homes of local people. They met both harassment, in the form of bomb threats and heckling, and encouragement from onlookers as they made their

Marks Mule Train & Poor Peoples Campaign Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, May 23, 2021
3. Marks Mule Train & Poor Peoples Campaign Marker
way on highways and through towns. In its first month of travel, the Mule Train covered approximately five hundred miles, averaging about twenty-five miles per day. It took the caravan from May 13 to June 15 to make its way from Marks to Atlanta.
 
Erected 2015 by Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division. (Marker Number 20.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil Rights. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Freedom Trail series list. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1968.
 
Location. 34° 14.641′ N, 90° 16.592′ W. Marker is in Marks, Mississippi, in Quitman County. Marker is at the intersection of Roger Road and Martin L King Jr Drive (State Route 3), on the right when traveling east on Roger Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1218 MLK Jr Dr, Marks MS 38646, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 16 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Sunnyland Slim (approx. 3 miles away); Dunn Mounds (approx. 11.6 miles away); John Lee Hooker (approx. 12.4 miles away); Charley Pride (approx. 13.4 miles away); Yazoo Pass Expedition (approx. 15.2 miles away).
 
Also see . . .  The Mule Train: Poor People’s Campaign. (Submitted on May 29, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Marks Mule Train & Poor Peoples Campaign Marker (reverse) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, May 23, 2021
4. Marks Mule Train & Poor Peoples Campaign Marker (reverse)
Marks Mule Train & Poor Peoples Campaign Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, May 23, 2021
5. Marks Mule Train & Poor Peoples Campaign Marker
Reverse side of marker is weather beaten and unreadable.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 30, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 29, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 29 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 29, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Jun. 16, 2021