Her father was called 'the most dangerous racist in America.' She wants a different legacy for her sons Peggy Wallace Kennedy was 8 years old when she got her first glimpse of the troubling future that awaited her. By John Blake She was living in Clayton, Alabama, then a tiny segregated town in the Jim Crow South. Her father was George Wallace, the future Alabama governor and archvillain of the civil rights movement who stood in schoolhouse doors to block black students from enrolling and once declared, "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." That version of her father, though, didn't yet exist for Peggy Wallace in 1958. She knew her father as the charmer with the Brylcreemed hair who handed her M&M's, called her "sugah" and never talked politics at home. But her world shifted one day when her mother sent her to a black seamstress to get some clothes mended. As she climbed the steps to the seamstress's home, Peggy heard the woman's voice from inside the house say, "George Wallace don't want his daughter to be up in no n***** house." She froze, pirouetted, slowly walked back down the steps and went home. She never said anything to the woman. Why talk publicly about these painful memories? Are you trying to make up for what your father did? No, I wanted to leave a legacy for my two sons different from the legacy that was left for me. In 1996, we took Burns [her youngest son] to the Martin Luther King Jr. historic site in Atlanta. Burns was eight years old at the time. And when we went to the museum, we came to an exhibit where Dr. King fought for equal rights in Alabama and there were photos. There were photos of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the bombed-out 16th Street Baptist Church and George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse doors. And he turned and asked me, "Why did Paw Paw do these things to people?" I knew I had to do something for my children that my father never did for me. I said, "I don't know why Paw Paw did those things to people, but I know he was wrong. So maybe it'll be up to you and me to help make things right." In 2009, I was asked to go to Selma [the site in Alabama of an epic civil rights campaign]. There I am with John Lewis, Joseph Lowery and Jesse Jackson. It was wonderful. And I crossed the bridge with John Lewis and he held my hand. He gave me courage to find my voice. At the time I thought to myself, I can use this voice to speak up and speak out about something I'm passionate about. Maybe I can build a legacy for my two sons that's different than the ones left for me. That's when I started speaking up. Her father was 'the most dangerous racist in America.' She wants a different legacy for her sons - CNN This is the example of taking responsibility to fix the problem of racism. She descends from one of the most racist men in history of this nation. She doesn't deny racism or it's continuing impact. She does not makes excuses. She does not minimize it. She does not call blacks fighting against it racists or fearmongers. She doesn't go looking for a sellout to quote in order to justify continuing racism. She doesn't make false equivalence about how she's opposes black racism while ignoring instances of racism. She's out there denouncing it. Some of us need to take notes.