The Audacity to Seek Justice in Small Town America

Andrea D. Price
4 min readJun 9, 2021

Drew County, Arkansas

Drew County, Monticello, Arkansas is a small community nestled in the southeastern corner of the state. Its claim to fame is the mascot for the local college, the Boll Weevil. Drew County is also where I was born and raised.

During my childhood, Burlington Industries anchored the economy. People from all over southeast Arkansas worked at one of the three Burlington rug factories in Monticello. My parents and paternal grandparents all worked at Burlington. People of all ages and races worked side-by-side and got to know each other. I believe the town benefited from the relationships citizens built at Burlington. Unfortunately, Burlington closed its doors about twenty years ago, the economy, and the tight-knit relationships forged at Burlington, never fully recovered.

The Murder of Marquise Martin

Burlington’s closing left a massive void in Drew County. Now, twenty years later, an enormous void is once again felt in Drew County and beyond. On February 9, 2020, Drew County resident, Marquise Martin, went missing. His body was discovered on March 7, 2020.

His murder is still unsolved, so his family, friends, and sleuths from all over the country search for answers and try to understand why his murder happened and who is responsible. The local sheriff’s department, which is in charge of the case, has reported no updates since the murder.

Justice is Rooted in Love

Marquise’s mother, loved ones, and even strangers are determined to get answers and justice. On Friday, June 4, 2021, a peaceful rally was scheduled to occur at the Drew County courthouse to bring more awareness to Marquise’s story. In response to the protest, local authorities decided to close the courthouse, alleging threats made by people who don’t reside in Drew County. Authorities blocked the steps to the courthouse to prevent people from getting close to the building on the planned date.

The decision of local authorities did not deny Marquise’s supporters. On June 4, Marquise’s friends and loved ones showed up and held a peaceful rally on the courthouse’s lawn. The audacity of Marquise’s loved ones to show up for him led some…

Andrea D. Price

Author of Everyday Prayers for Servant Leaders and Montongo Roads #WEOC Rural woman who writes.