RFK’s ‘Delta Epiphany’ to be Discussed at Overby Center

UM professor to talk about her new book at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday

Bill Rose

OXFORD, Miss. – Ellen Meacham, author of “Delta Epiphany,” a new book on Robert F. Kennedy’s dramatic tour of the Mississippi Delta in 1967 and its impact on the region, will discuss her work at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday (April 3) at the University of Mississippi’s Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.

Bill Rose, a former Overby fellow who was working as a journalist in the Delta at the time, will join Meacham in the discussion of her research and conclusions involving Kennedy’s foray to investigate the problems of hunger among poor people.

The event is free and open to the public, and a reception follows the program. Parking will be available in the lot adjacent to the Overby Center Auditorium.

“Ellen’s book is a valuable addition to the corpus of written material about Robert Kennedy,” Overby fellow Curtis Wilkie said. “Though other books have touched on Kennedy’s trip to the Delta, no one has concentrated on his mission among impoverished black families, an experience that lasted only one day but helped radicalize his politics for the remaining year of his life.”

This is the fourth in a series of programs at the Overby Center this spring dealing with social unrest in America in the 1960s that culminated in historic explosions in 1968 that included the assassination of Robert Kennedy.

Ellen Meacham

Meacham, a member of the Ole Miss journalism faculty, writes not only of the Congressional inquiry that concluded with stops in Greenville, Cleveland, Mound Bayou and Clarksdale in April 1967, but also explores the aftereffects that still have resonance in the Delta.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s trip, Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, led a well-publicized tour of the region last summer. In 1967, she was a civil rights attorney in Mississippi and served as Kennedy’s guide.

In one of Meacham’s final research efforts in a project that consumed nearly a decade, she traveled on the bus with Edelman.

“Delta Epiphany: Robert F. Kennedy in Mississippi” was published this spring by University Press of Mississippi.

Former Gov. William F. Winter has hailed the book.

“Ellen Meacham uses her superb talents as a historian and writer to record a transcendant … event in our state’s conflicted history,” Winter said.