My participation in the early civil rights and freedom movement as a teenager and young adult shaped the rest of my life: creating in me a passion for justice and community involvement.
As the great great grandaughter of escaped slaves William and Ellen Craft, and the grand niece of William Monroe Trotter, founder of the Boston Guardian newspaper, being in the freedom movement, in SNCC and fighting for equal rights seemed a fullfillment of destiny for me. These memories and that witness continue today to give me courage and strength for the journey and are a demonstration for my children and grandchildren.
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In the late 1950's and early 1960's Peggy joined thousands of other Black and White students in the north and south to fight for civil rights. She was a marcher and sit-in student in North Carolina and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. As an early member of the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Peggy attended non-violent workshops taught by a variety of Civil Rights activists such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. James Lawson, James Farmer, Miles Horton, Ella Baker and Dorothy Cotton.
In SNCC Peggy worked as a voter registration Field Worker in the early 1960's in rural Southwest Georgia with the Albany Freedom Movement. She spent over 3 weeks in jail as well as lived with local sharecroppers and their families who daily risked their lives to protect and help the SNCC workers. The Albany Movement successfully registered Black voters and provided an important impetus for the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer when thousands of Black and White students went south and taught in the Freedom Schools and helped organize the grassroots movement which led to the development of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
Upon Peggy's return to the North in the Fall of 1963, she attended Boston University where she became actively involved in the anti-Vietnam war movement and counseled young men who refused to fight in what they believed was an unjust war. Her brother Hank was a conscientious objector and together with her first husband, Noel Day, they provided a "safe haven" for young men on their way to Canada to avoid the draft.
Over the years Peggy has continued her work with social causes by helping to co-found the San Francisco Women's Health Center, The Black Women Organized for Action Health Consortium and by developing health education materials for inner city youth and women without health insurance through the Black Women's Health Project in South Central Los Angeles. She has taught Culture and Health for the California State University Dominquez Hills Nursing Program and Community Health Education for California State University Long Beach. Throughout the 1980's and 1990's Peggy co-lectured with her mother, Ellen Craft Dammond on Black History until Ellen's death in 2007. Peggy continues that tradition with her daughter Shanti and son Chris and her grandchildren in the Los Angeles area.
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Last Modified: January 12, 2010.