About the Author
Ellen Meacham has been a working journalist for more than 20 years. Currently, she is a member of the faculty in the University of Mississippi’s journalism school, where she teaches news reporting and editing. Prior to that, she worked as a news reporter in north Mississippi and at the Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina. In 2005, she was one of only 20 journalism faculty members in the nation selected as a fellow in the American Society of Newspaper Editor’s Institute for Journalistic Excellence and worked through that program at the Baton Rouge Advocate.
Meacham is uniquely positioned to write this book. Her experience as an award-winning newspaper reporter has given her extensive contacts within the state’s political and journalistic circles. In addition, her master’s degree in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi undergirds her understanding the culture and the people of the Mississippi Delta.
In February 2012, she moderated a panel discussion with journalists and activists who made the trip with Kennedy, including Marian Wright Edelman, for the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics. In addition, the Mississippi Humanities Council’s Speaker’s Bureau has selected her for its Speaker’s Bureau on this topic.
She lives outside of Oxford, Mississippi, with her family.
“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 is certainly one of the most effective teachers and leaders I had during my college career. I learned so much from her, not only about the English language and the craft of journalism, but about how to be a valuable member of any successful team. Her passion for what she does is undeniable and contagious. I like to think I inherited some of that fire, and that it’s helped propel me forward in my own career.”
“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