Meridian is the story of Meridian Hill, a black student who joins the Civil Rights Movement and enters a tumultuous romance with another member of the cause. Her lover, Truman Held, is mercurial in his commitment both to the movement and to Meridian. Meridian herself remains steadfast even through enduring an abortion and the messy end of her relationship with Truman as he leaves in pursuit of financial success and a romance with a white woman. The novel deals with the place of women in the Civil Rights struggle.
Set in the 1960s and 1970s, Meridian centers on Meridian Hill, a student at the fictitious Saxon College, who becomes active in the Civil Rights Movement. She becomes romantically involved with another activist, Truman Held, and though he impregnates her, they have a turbulent on-and-off relationship.
After Meridian has an abortion, Truman becomes far more attached to her and longs to start a life together. Later Truman becomes involved with a white woman, Lynne Rabinowitz, who is also active in the Civil Rights struggle, though perhaps for the wrong reasons.
As time goes by, Truman attempts, unsuccessfully, to achieve personal and financial success while Meridian continues to stay involved in the movement and fight for issues she believes deeply in.