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Meridian | Section Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • Sometime in 1959

    Meridian Hill becomes pregnant at 16 and marries Eddie, dropping out of school.

    Part 1, Section 7
  • April 1960

    The day Eddie leaves her and the baby, Meridian is fascinated by the voter registration drive.

    Part 1, Section 8
  • A month later

    Meridian volunteers to join the civil rights movement and meets Truman Held.

    Part 1, Section 11
  • A year later

    Meridian gets a scholarship to Saxon College in Atlanta and gives up her son to go there.

    Part 1, Section 12
  • November 1963

    Anne-Marion befriends Meridian as they grieve over JFK's murder. They are active in the movement.

    Part 1, Section 1
  • About a year later

    Meridian has sex with Truman once, becomes pregnant, and aborts the baby without telling him.

    Part 1, Section 14
  • Sometime in 1966

    Refuting the growing violence of the movement, Meridian goes to rural areas in the South to serve.

    Part 1, Section 1
  • Around the same time

    Truman and his white activist lover, Lynne, move from New York to Mississippi and marry.

    Part 2, Section 16
  • Two years later

    Tommy Odds rapes Lynne, and she wants to leave Truman but stays, no longer part of the movement.

    Part 2, Section 22
  • About a year later

    Lynne, pregnant with Truman's baby, leaves him and moves to New York City.

    Part 2, Section 22
  • Within months

    Truman finds Meridian in Alabama and begs her to give him another chance. She refuses.

    Part 2, Section 18
  • Six years later

    Lynne and Truman's daughter, Camara, is murdered in New York City. Meridian goes to help them.

    Part 2, Section 24
  • About 18 months later

    Truman finds Meridian staring down a tank to protest discrimination.

    Part 1, Section 1
  • Shortly after

    Truman and Meridian begin working together again for the movement.

    Part 3, Section 29
  • A little over a year later

    Meridian leaves Truman, telling him to carry on their work.

    Part 3, Section 33
  • Shortly after

    Truman returns to Lynne in New York City to provide for her and be her friend.

    Part 3, Section 32

Section Summaries Chart

Section Summary
Part 1, Section 1 Truman Held arrives by car to the small town of Chicokema, Georgia, having driven straight through from New York City. S... Read More
Part 1, Section 2 This short chapter is set at Saxon College, which is the school in Atlanta Meridian attends. (Most critics agree that Sa... Read More
Part 1, Section 3 Chapter 3 gives readers more information about Meridian's college years—and reveals more about her background and person... Read More
Part 1, Section 4 Chapter 4 gives information about Meridian's mother and father, helping readers to understand where she came from. Her m... Read More
Part 1, Section 5 This very short chapter tells of one incident in Meridian's life when she was seven years old. She finds what she identi... Read More
Part 1, Section 6 Chapter 6 reveals more about Mr. Hill, giving readers information about the things Meridian admires most in her father. ... Read More
Part 1, Section 7 Chapter 7 is set during the years of Meridian's adolescence when she becomes sexually active. Having been told nothing a... Read More
Part 1, Section 8 Despite what the chapter title says, Meridian is far from a happy mother. How she is described in this chapter points to... Read More
Part 1, Section 9 After Eddie leaves Meridian, she spends her days idly. She takes Eddie, Jr., to her mother-in-law's home to spend the da... Read More
Part 1, Section 10 As this chapter opens, the focus is again on Meridian's mother, on her life as perceived by Meridian. She describes it a... Read More
Part 1, Section 11 One month after Eddie leaves her and Meridian learns of the firebombing, she walks into a house to volunteer for the civ... Read More
Part 1, Section 12 Several months after Meridian joins the civil rights movement, she realizes that Truman Held actually means something to... Read More
Part 1, Section 13 This chapter opens with Meridian's musings about her first year at Saxon. She feels blessed by the opportunity to attend... Read More
Part 1, Section 14 The last words of Chapter 13, "she was in love, with Truman," set the stage for this chapter. It is about Meridian's bri... Read More
Part 1, Section 15 This final chapter in Meridian's section of the novel begins with a paragraph that is repeated three times. It describes... Read More
Part 2, Section 16 This chapter opens with descriptions. First Lynne is described from Truman's perspective as he observes her. She is surr... Read More
Part 2, Section 17 This chapter opens with a description of the shooting of one of Truman's friends and fellow co-workers in the movement, ... Read More
Part 2, Section 18 This chapter tells of a time three years after Truman and Lynne marry. On this occasion, Truman goes in search of Meridi... Read More
Part 2, Section 19 This chapter tells of a time Lynne, like Truman, visits Meridian. It has been a year since the two women have seen each ... Read More
Part 2, Section 20 This very short chapter relates an incident that gives more information about Lynne's mother. At the point this memory o... Read More
Part 2, Section 21 This chapter gives a description of Lynne according to Tommy Odds' point of view. When Tommy first meets Lynne in Missis... Read More
Part 2, Section 22 This chapter identifies the man who raped Lynne, the man she had tried to tell Meridian about. That man is Tommy Odds, a... Read More
Part 2, Section 23 As this chapter opens, Lynne is on the subway. She is going to Truman's apartment to inform him that Camara has been bea... Read More
Part 2, Section 24 When Camara dies from her injuries, Truman sends for Meridian. She comes to help both him and Lynne in this difficult ti... Read More
Part 2, Section 25 The last chapter ended with Lynne dreaming of the South, and this chapter returns to the visit she makes there after Cam... Read More
Part 3, Section 26 This chapter is dated "A Day in April, 1968." It is the day of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral, but he is not named... Read More
Part 3, Section 27 This chapter opens with a conversation. It is a few lines before readers learn that it is a conversation between Truman ... Read More
Part 3, Section 28 The novel goes back in time with this chapter, to the spring after Meridian is in Atlanta for the funeral. She starts go... Read More
Part 3, Section 29 In this chapter Truman and Meridian are working together again in the Chicokema area for the civil rights movement. They... Read More
Part 3, Section 30 In this chapter Truman and Meridian visit two elderly sisters, Margaret and Lucille, to try to register them to vote. Th... Read More
Part 3, Section 31 In this chapter Meridian and Truman visit a young girl in prison for murdering her child. They are there because the gir... Read More
Part 3, Section 32 The chapter is written in italics, which indicates it is an interruption of the narrative—in this case, as the title ind... Read More
Part 3, Section 33 The narrative returns to Truman and Meridian in Chicokema. Truman asks Meridian to love him like she used to. Meridian's... Read More
Part 3, Section 34 Readers learn at the beginning of this chapter that a newly strong Meridian, with a head of soft new hair, is about to m... Read More
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