APRIL 10, 1967
Unita Blackwell, Fannie Lou Hamer and others testified about the immense poverty in the Mississippi Delta as Sen. Robert Kennedy and others listened at a Senate subcommittee hearing in Jackson. The next day, Kennedy and Sen. Joseph Clark from Pennsylvania toured the Delta with Marian Wright, seeing malnutrition they equated with Third World countries. The senators wrote a letter to President Lyndon B. Johnson, describing what they found. The press covered the story, including The New York Times and Jet and Look magazines.
“Congress talks of poverty and how it should be dealt with,” Daniel Schorr reported on the CBS Evening News, “but rarely does it go to look at it.” More congressional hearings resulted, and reforms followed. Ellen Meacham’s book, “Delta Epiphany: Robert F. Kennedy in Mississippi,” tells this story.