A Dark Road

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About Tom Matlack

Tom Matlack is the co-founder of The Good Men Project. He has a 18-year-old daughter and 16- and 7-year-old sons. His wife, Elena, is the love of his life. Follow him on Twitter @TMatlack.


  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    Interesting story. I was with STEP at Rust 67 and 68. Things had settled down by then. What was your mom’s family name? Was she from MSU?

  2. interesting reading(the politics, history, sense of fear), thanks

  3. This is a deep read I really like it and I feel like that most people do not understand this in todays soceity.

  4. Lisa Hickey says:

    This is an amazing and important piece of history, a story told the way I like to best learn history — from the vantage point of one individual and how the events of the nation at the time impact him or her. It’s a way to understand insights and and the importance and meaning of today’s events — by framing them with perspective and looking at how an individual questions whether they are doing the right thing or not at the time.

    Thanks for this Tom.

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    Tom. Mostly Mich State folks, starting in, I believe, 1965, ran what might be called “pre-mediation” for incoming freshmen at Rust. Six weeks with three hours daily of math, three of what we called communication skills (writing, critical reading), and electives taught by any of us who had something interesting. Swimming classes. Trips to Ole Miss, Shiloh, Wall Doxey for swimming.
    Had a reunion about four years ago and were told–I hope it’s true–that the pre-freshmen we taught did better than those who did not participate.
    Turns out that Osborne Bell, first black sheriff of the county, was killed in the line of duty in 1987. Plaque in the Marshall County building. Things must have changed faster than I anticipated. You don’t get to be sheriff without being Somebody first, so the society had allowed him to rise to the position of Somebody so as to be elected. Elections are in even years, so he had to have been elected in 1986 at the latest, thus having been a notable for some years prior to that, going back toward the Sixties. Turns out he had been the coroner who didn’t hide the shooting by cops of a black kid in custody, thus sparking the Byhalia boycott. So he was getting along, a black man, starting pretty shortly after the Sixties, if I’m making my assumptions and math correctly.
    Didn’t think it would happen that fast.
    My wife and visited five or six years ago. Town’s come along. Got an industrial corridor, some of the worst buildings are gone, as is

  6. Thank you for sharing this poignant story and the heart-ache of all involved. I am grateful for the courage and feel I’ve received a gift that has enlarged my humanity — today — on MLK’s day. Blessings to you and your family, April
    PS-When in San Francisco, stop by the MLK wall of quotes between 3rd & 4th on Market Street. The beauty and truth of what he said, still sings….

  7. That was excellent!

  8. Even though this happened a generation ago, it’s still important to remember the sacrifice made by many people from all walks of life. I’ll definitely share this. Thanks.

  9. wet_suit_one says:

    “He who stands with me shall be my brother.”

    I guess that means I’m your Uncle, Tom (no pun intended, but the irony is rich isn’t it?).

    It’s good to see that a sense of justice can run in a family. I salute your father and yourself.

    The Wet One

  10. The Good Men Project I have spoken to literally thousands of men–from inmates in Sing Sing to a photographer taking picture on this contented in this page…

  11. Hey stranger, good to hear from you! When you think about how your parents left their ‘comfortable’ New England lifestyle behind for an adventure to a place where they could ‘disappear’, well you really appreciate their strength of conviction. It really makes me sad when I hear today’s youth use the n-word so casually , whether in conversation or ‘rap’ songs. It makes me feel the sacrifice that people made (of all races) just aren’t appreciated as they should be. On the other hand, I now see where your sence of conviction comes from. Be proud of your family Tom, be VERY proud!


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