Interview with Marian Wright Edelman

So what else comes to mind about that tour?


What comes to mind during, ah, that same day in Cleveland, Mississippi, I think was, ah, going by this time with the motorcade, ah, it was towards the airport, ah, and he didn't like the siren very much and didn't like the fanfare but somehow the motorcade happened to run over a child's dog. And I remember him stopping and getting out of the car and trying to console the child, ah, and I, you know, this was a man who was very open and attuned to suffering, ah, and he went back, ah, to Washington but he sent, ah, my now husband back, ah, with agriculture officials, went over to Orville Freeman and said, "Just get the food down there, Orville." And because they knew that the Agriculture Department officials might not believe even the senators when they were told that there was no, there were people down in Mississippi with no income. They sent my husband back, for which I am eternally grateful, to come back and to go with the Agriculture Department officials and to show them those families that he had seen, ah, so that we could begin to build a federal response to the outrageous hunger that was pervading the land. You know I'm absolutely outraged, ah, that all that effort in 1967 and '68 which led to a major, national response over a year, a few years, after an extraordinary amount of effort, it should never be so hard to feed children in a, in a, in an affluent country like this. But they were beginning to do that in the early '70s. And to see hunger come back to America again and to come back to poor, rural communities again, ah, is sobering, ah, and I think a cause for real soul searching.