From the daughter of one of America’s most virulent segregationists, a memoir that reckons with her father George Wallace’s legacy of hate — and illuminates her journey towards redemption.
Peggy Wallace Kennedy has been widely hailed as the “symbol of racial reconciliation” (Washington Post). In the summer of 1963, though, she was just a young girl watching her father stand in a schoolhouse door as he tried to block two African-American students from entering the University of Alabama.
Peggy Wallace Kennedy has been widely hailed as the “symbol of racial reconciliation” (Washington Post). In the summer of 1963, though, she was just a young girl watching her father stand in a schoolhouse door as he tried to block two African-American students from entering the University of Alabama. This man, former governor of Alabama and presidential candidate George Wallace, was notorious for his hateful rhetoric and his political stunts. But he was also a larger-than-life father to young Peggy, who was taught to smile, sit straight, and not speak up as her father took to the political stage. At the end of his life, Wallace came to renounce his views, although he could never attempt to fully repair the damage he caused. But Peggy, after her own political awakening, dedicated her life to spreading the new Wallace message-one of peace and compassion.
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About Peggy Wallace Kennedy
Born into one of the most powerful political families in the history of the American South, Peggy Wallace Kennedy is recognized as one of America’s most important voices for peace and reconciliation. From her unique perspective of living behind the gates of the Alabama Governor’s Mansion as her father, George Wallace, rose to become one of America’s most influential populists, Peggy Wallace Kennedy offers a compelling narrative of her family’s history and its relevance to the current version of the politics of rage.
Traveling with her father in 1968 during his presidential campaign, Peggy bore witness to the power of anger and fear at Wallace Rallies in America’s heartland and northeastern factory cities as crowds of disaffected white men and women saw themselves in her father’s eyes. And in May of 1972, she was called from a college classroom and told that her father had been gunned down in the parking lot of a shopping mall in Maryland.