Longtime political reporter Bessie Ford passes away

She was well known for her Business & Politics column and Inside Alabama Politics newsletter

Longtime Business Alabama magazine writer Bessie Louise Ford passed away on Friday, Aug. 26.

Ford, 80, was the creator and writer of Business & Politics, a column that appeared in Business Alabama from its inaugural issue in January 1986 to her retirement in 2010. She also was the editor and sole writer for the newsletter Inside Alabama Politics from 1985 to 2010. Business Alabama magazine is published by PMT Publishing, which also published Inside Alabama Politics.

Inside Alabama Politics chronicled the politics of Alabama in its nearly 1,000 issues published. Business Alabama’s Business & Politics column centered on how politics within the state impacted the business community. Both relied on Ford’s valuable insights, contacts and research.  

Ford was born in Charleston, Mississippi, on Sept. 6, 1941, the only child of Robert and Nona Ford. Of Baptist faith, she had no surviving close relatives, but her friends and contacts were numerous and wide-ranging.

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She was valedictorian of East Tallahatchie High School in Charleston in 1959 and majored in journalism at the University of Mississippi. As a senior at Ole Miss, Ford was hired by United Press International to help cover the story of James Meredith, the first Black student admitted to the university.

After graduation, Ford was a reporter for UPI in Jackson from 1963 to 1968 and served as bureau manager for UPI in Montgomery from 1969 to 1985. She was the first female to hold that position.

“Bessie was a steadfast and independent woman, both in her personal and professional lives,” her obituary read. “As an honest observer and reporter, she was a force in the political era of her times.”

A graveside service was held Aug. 28 in Charleston.

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