About the Author
Ellen Meacham is a journalist, author, and journalism instructor at her alma mater, the University of Mississippi. She is the author of “Delta Epiphany: Robert F. Kennedy in Mississippi” and has been an award-winning journalist for more than two decades in Mississippi, Charleston, South Carolina, and Louisiana. She is a member of the faculty in the University of Mississippi’s journalism school, where she teaches news reporting and editing. She is also a former fellow with the American Association of Newspaper Editors, selected as one of only 20 journalism professors in the nation.
A native of Tennessee, she is a long-time resident of Mississippi and is uniquely positioned to write about the South. Her experience as a newspaper reporter has given her extensive contacts within the state’s political and journalistic circles, as well as throughout the region. Her master’s degree in the interdiciplinary program of Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi informs her understanding of the culture, the politics, the economics, and the people of the South and the Mississippi Delta.
Her work has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today Online, The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tennessee, and The Advocate in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She has been featured on “Hardball with Chris Matthews” on MSNBC, the BBC, Ireland’s Newstalk Radio, Newsmax television, “Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal” and on numerous other public radio shows around the nation.
She lives in the tiny town of Taylor near Oxford, Mississippi, with her family, where she has been a member of the town’s board of aldermen since 2013.
“Ellen Meacham is a talented and perceptive journalist who recognized, nearly a half-century after the fact, the great impact of Robert Kennedy’s brief trip to the Mississippi Delta in 1967. It was a mission that changed his life, the tortured history of that region, and the nation’s attitude toward hungry people in America. Though Ellen was not old enough to have been there, her investigation of the story has brought it back to life, and it is an example of her valuable work.”Curtis Wilkie
“Ellen is that rarest of creatures: The compassionate bulldog reporter. She will shake a lie until the truth winnows free, yet never loses sight of the fact that journalism is about people. Truth alone may set us free, but truth without compassion is a cold freedom, devoid of healing. Both are required for progress. I think she knows this in her bones.”Dan Conover
“Ellen Meacham’s book is superb. At its heart is the day in April 1967 in Mississippi when Robert Kennedy saw American children malnourished to a degree that would have been thought impossible in our nation. The story has been told before but not like this. The book is beautifully written, and Meacham tells the story in a depth not previously reached. She also nests it in a history and politics of racism and feudalism that explain how this American tragedy could happen and how it resulted in a national commitment to do better. I was there that day with Robert Kennedy and I can testify firsthand. This is a must-read.”
–Peter Edelman, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law Center and author of Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America
“The best history sometimes focuses on a moment in time, and that is true for Ellen Meacham’s inspired study of Robert F. Kennedy’s visit to the Mississippi Delta in 1967. The trip riveted national attention on the hunger that beset so many in the Delta and elsewhere. It led to public policy changes, and deeply affected Kennedy as he embarked on his journey to a new role as impassioned reformer. Meacham tells us much about the people of the Delta, and, in one of her particularly significant contributions, she has tracked down some of the African American family members who met Kennedy, giving a unique perspective on the story of Kennedy’s visit and its meaning, then and now.”Dr. Charles Reagan Wilson