As a young African American woman, February is an especially important month to me. Because of the consequences of slavery, I do not know much of my own family history. But every year, Black History Month comes around to highlight all of the amazing things African American people have done for this country and I get to hear stories about famous black leaders as well as those unsung heroes that might not get as much recognition.
In the videos below and above, VoiceWaves interviewed two of those unsung heroes: Evelyn Knight and Peggy Preacely. Both women, who also happen to live in Long Beach, shared their roles and histories in the civil rights movement and gave advice and encouragement to youth interested in fighting for social justice today.
Evelyn Knight is a Long Beach resident who has been done more than her fair share of community work and fighting for change. She has marched side-by-side with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to get African Americans the right to vote. She was born in Africa Town, Alabama, three miles north of downtown Mobile, Alabama. It was formed by West Africans who were among the last known illegal shipment of slaves to the United States. These people created their own tribal community and retained their customs and language following the American Civil War.
Peggy Preacely is originally from New York where she too stood up for a cause. She landed in jail once or twice as a young adult for sitting in resistance at a “white only lunch counter.” Mrs. Preacely worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was part of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Preacely’s work helped to get African American voter registration during the 1960s.