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Peggy Wallace Kennedy

Peggy Wallace Kennedy

Civil Rights Activist & Author

Biography

Born into one of the most powerful political families in the history of the American South, Peggy Wallace Kennedy now stands apart from her past and is recognized as one of America’s most important voices for peace and reconciliation. Peggy’s father, George Wallace and her mother Lurleen Wallace both served as Governors of Alabama. Read More >

However, it is the story of Peggy’s personal journey to redemption and the love of her two sons, Leigh and Burns, that captures the hearts of those who hear her voice. After years of standing in the shadows of others, Peggy challenges us to believe in ourselves so that we too can walk to higher ground. Her life’s story demonstrates best, the notion that while none of us can be held responsible for the circumstances of our birth, each of us will be held responsible for who we can become. In speeches throughout the United States, Peggy employs the tradition of southern storytelling through sharing moments from her own personal journey of creating a new and different legacy for her and her sons.

Mrs. Kennedy has participated on special panels and delivered keynote addresses at national and state conferences, government agencies, corporate and special events as well as colleges, universities and high schools. She has participated in programs at the National Archives, Congressional Forums with Congressman John Lewis and on the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March joined Reverend Bernice King, the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King , on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol as a living testament to the power of change and reconciliation.

Peggy has joined other daughters of the American Civil Rights Movement, including Kerry Kennedy, Lucie Baines Johnson, and Donzaleigh Abernathy to share their personal stories and heartfelt moments of the sense of sisterhood they now share.

On the fiftieth anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March, Peggy spoke with compassion and purpose to Congressman John Lewis, public figures and political leaders who journeyed to Alabama to reflect on the continuing struggle for equality in our lifetime. In her remarks she said, “There is no better time than now for Americans to hold hands, rather than hold down the inherent rights of all mankind. One can never measure the worth of a mended heart that beats again because someone cared” The following week, Mrs. Kennedy’s speech was entered into the Congressional Record of the United States House of Representatives.

However, perhaps it is the story of Peggy’s own personal journey to redemption and her call for justice through reconciliation that will one day be viewed as the most important and lasting public service of the Wallace/Kennedys of Alabama.

Media appearances include CBS with Bill Plante, PBS, NPR with Michelle Norris, Sirius Radio with Joe Madison and Mark Thompson, MSNBC with Lawrence O’Donnell, the Broadcast Network of Japan, Finnish Broadcasting, AL Jazeera, US., NBC Today Show, C-Spann, The Hill; Changing America and CBN.

In recognition of her mission and work, Mrs. Kennedy has received among others, the Rosa Parks Legacy Award - Southern Leadership Conference, Woman of Courage Award – The Emmitt Till Legacy Foundation, I Am A Man Award – April Fourth Foundation, Human Rights Award – The Brown Foundation, MLK Commission Award, City of San Antonio, Texas and The March On Award – March on Washington Film Festival.

Peggy is married to Justice H. Mark Kennedy, who served as a judge for over two decades including two terms as an Associate Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. The Kennedy’s have two sons, Army Major Leigh Chancellor Kennedy, a decorated veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Morgan Burns Kennedy, a historical archivist for Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Peggy and Mark have been married for forty-six years and reside in Montgomery where they often enjoy the company of their sons and wives, Stephanie and Hannah and their granddaughter, Maggie Rose.

Mrs. Kennedy’s memoir, The Broken Road: George Wallace and a Daughter’s Journey to Reconciliation, was released in December of 2019 by Bloomsbury Publishing USA, coauthored by her husband Mark. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

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