This image is of Peggy (R), then a 19 year-old SNCC member, next to future civil rights icon, Dr. Dorothy Cotton (L), after a 1962 church burning in Georgiathe state that Peggy's great-great grandparents, William & Ellen Craft, famously escaped from slavery nearly 115 years earlier...

MY

W E E K L Y 

W O R D

SPECIAL MARCH ON WASHINGTON RECOGNITION

8.28.2021

Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely

Dr. Dorothy Cotton

On this day, August 28, 1963, at just 20 years old, I had the honor of being at the historic March on Washington (more here). This was a seminal moment for me, not just because of my participation there or my work with SNCC and other activist work, but also representing my family's civil rights legacy line that includes: my great-great grandparents, Ellen and William Craft who escaped enslavement to freedom in 1848, and became abolitionists; my great-great grandfather, James Monroe Trotter who fought in the Civil War; my great uncle and civil rights stalwart, William Monroe Trotter, who stood against racism everywhere, even from a U.S. president; and my mother, Ellen Craft Dammond, who was part of the "Wednesdays in Mississippi" movement. I also had the honor of personally knowing and serving with civil rights legends, such as Bob Moses... In all their honors, and others who have fought the good fight and got in "good trouble", I dedicate my new poem below, "VOTE" that is also an homage to the March on Washington laying the groundwork for the 1965 Selma marches, that led to the 1965 Voting Rights Act literally just two years later...  Grassroots work, don't let anyone tell you otherwise...indeed, it is why voter suppression is rearing its ugly head--again...

"VOTE"

​​by Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely

There it is

That ancient call to reach forth

To stretch against the tide

To ride the wings of promises

Made In darkness

In the chains that bound us

In the holds of ships

In the cabins of bondage

In the arms of captors

That we would arise

Find ground on which to forever stand

Be the people who

Face harsh winds

Spurn the fears

Ride the rails

Run through forests

Beat the drums

Call the ancestors

Carry one another

Dodge the bullets

Outlast the hatred

Outrun the dogs

Resist the hoses

Endure the jails

Organize the people

With heads high

With hearts intent

 

To voice a thought

To select a leader

To choose a destiny

To right a wrong

To make our mark

To check the box

To lift a hand

To pull the lever

To mail the ballot

To brave the cold

To sweat the heat

To stand in line

To talk the talk

To walk the walk

To take a stand

To find the rainbow

To set the compass

…and just carry on.

© 2021 Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely. All rights reserved.