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. 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.
In this powerful new memoir, Peggy looks back on the politics of her youth and attempts to reconcile her adored father with the man who coined the phrase, “Segregation now. Segregation tomorrow. Segregation forever.”
Timely and timeless, The Broken Road speaks to change, atonement, activism, and racial reconciliation.
“Wallace Kennedy, who avoided the spotlight for years, is now using her voice to promote racial healing”-NPR
“[Wallace Kennedy] also shows poignantly the toll [George Wallace’s] actions took on his family and draws parallels between his tactics and those of Donald Trump. . .. A fair-minded memoir and portrayal of an exceptionally divisive civil rights-era politician.” -kirkus reviews.com
“Peggy Wallace Kennedy exposes the raw complexities of politics, families and love. The Broken Road is an intimate portrait of a daughter’s struggle to grapple with a father whom she loves but whose politics she abhors and her extraordinary odyssey to find her own voice. Peggy’s story, imbued with atonement, redemption, and healing grace is especially important now, when our country is more divided than any time in the last fifty years.” – Kerry Kennedy, President, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
We should be mindful that when we stoop to bicker among ourselves, we risk losing the chance to capture those moments of our coming together that celebrates the grandeur of America. I saw that grandeur the night my son came home and helped carry a fellow soldier down the steps from a plane so that they could all come home together. And it changed my life forever