The 12th annual USA Best Book Awards (USABookNews.com) listed Riot: Witness to Anger and Change as one of the best books in 2015.
Jeffrey Keen, president and CEO of USA Book News, said this year’s contest yielded over 2,000 entries from mainstream to independent publishers, which were then narrowed down to over 400 winners and finalists.
Notable publications such as Harper Collins, The White House Historical Association and W.W. Norton competed for this listing. Among the 100-plus categories, Ed Meek’s Riot: Witness to Anger and Change (2015) won in the U.S. History category.
Keen said “The 2015 results represent a phenomenal mix of books from a wide array of publishers throughout the United States. With a full publicity and marketing campaign promoting the results of the USA Best Book Awards, this year’s winners and finalists will gain additional media coverage for the upcoming holiday retail season.”
Published by Yoknapatawpha Press in association with The Meek School of Journalism and New Media, the photo-history book covers the events surrounding James Meredith’s admission to the University of Mississippi in 1962.
Ed Meek, then a 22-year-old graduate of Ole Miss and staff photographer for the University Information Office, was the only photographer allowed by the crowds to photograph the riot. He had over 500 pictures of the events covering James Meredith’s admission and the resulting 1962 riot with exclusive pictures of James Meredith sitting by himself in a classroom after the students walked out.
Decades after the integration, Meek published 120 of these historic pictures in the Riot book. Featured also is a chapter where Meek remembers that fateful night of the riot with Curtis Wilkie, noted journalist and Overby fellow, who also braved the tear gas to witness the chaotic event unfold. Former Mississippi governor William Winter wrote the book’s afterword.
James Meredith himself said of the book: “I read the book three times, and it is the best of all. There is one photo in there that will last a thousand years.” The photo Meredith mentioned is the cover photo of students standing at the front door of the Lyceum Building, blocked by troops of the 101st Airborne Division with bayonet mounted rifles.
Proceeds from sales will fund the Meek School’s Student Entrepreneurship Fund to publish books by Ole Miss journalism students and faculty. In 2014, Meek donated the pictures to the University of Mississippi Library Archives.
Callie Daniels Bryant is the senior managing editor at HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.