"Keep the stories alive"
Peggy Preacely describes the central role of her mother, Ellen Craft Dammond, in preserving family history.
Family: Fossett (Hemings)
Residence (at time of interview): San Pedro, CA
Peggy Preacely, a writer, filmmaker, and public health worker, learned her family history from her mother, Ellen Craft Dammond, the “griot of the family,” who recognized that “there were wonderful stories that needed to be kept alive in the family.” Her mother was a niece of William Monroe Trotter as well as a descendant of the famous fugitive slaves William and Ellen Craft.
Mother and daughter both participated in the civil rights movement. Ellen Dammond worked with Dorothy Height and Polly Cowan in the Wednesdays in Mississippi initiative. Peggy Preacely, who sees herself as carrying on a double family line of “freedom fighters,” joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and was jailed for sit-ins in the south. As she said, “I had to do something in my lifetime to make a difference because Uncle Monroe did and the Crafts escaped from slavery.”
16 July 2006, Long Beach, CA
Interviewees: Margaret Dammond Preacely, Noel Day, Christopher Day
Also present: Ellen Craft Dammond