Civil Rights icon Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely coming to Kokomo

Peggy Preacely
Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely

KOKOMO, Ind. – An acclaimed activist-artist, whose work on the front lines of the civil rights movement in the 1960s followed the nonviolent teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will serve as keynote speaker for the 14th annual “Doing the Dream” celebration presented by Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo.

Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely, who worked in the freedom movement in rural southwest Georgia with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, will speak at student convocations and a public banquet in Kokomo Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.

“In 2018, as we mark 50 years since Dr. King’s assassination and find ourselves still confronted with the painful realities of racism around the nation, Ms. Preacely is a significant choice to serve as keynote speaker for our annual Doing the Dream activities,” said Kim King, acting chancellor of Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Campus.

“As a passionate proponent of nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement of the Sixties, her path often crossed Dr. King’s,” the acting chancellor continued. “Dr. King visited Peggy and other students when they were being held in the Albany, Ga., jail, for their voter registration activities and community organizing, and she was on hand for his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in Washington, D.C. She can bring an important – and inspiring – personal perspective to our view of those historic times and their relevance today.”

On Wednesday, Jan. 31, Preacely will speak to juniors and seniors at student convocations at Kokomo and Logansport high schools. On Thursday, Feb. 1, she will speak at a free convocation open to college and other high school students at 11 a.m. in the Kokomo Event & Conference Center, 1500 N. Reed Road (Ind. 931). She will also be keynote speaker for the annual community banquet set to begin at 6 p.m. that evening at Bel Air Events, 3014 S. Webster St. Interested area residents and representatives of government, non-profit, educational, and religious organizations are invited to attend the banquet.

Raised in Harlem, where she knew activists Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, and Bob Moses, Preacely became an adherent of nonviolent change as a teenager. She has devoted her life to putting that philosophy to work in improving the lives of her fellow citizens, from working as a Freedom Rider and member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the South to working against de facto segregated schools in Boston and protesting the Vietnam War when she returned to the North.

Retired after 30 years as an advocate and administrator in the public health sector, Preacely now works with domestic violence and suicide prevention in the Los Angeles metro area, where she has lived since 1982.

As a public speaker and performer, she continues to share her commitment to nonviolent change by sharing her experiences as an early Freedom Rider and civil rights activist, who was arrested, shot at and jailed for her efforts, and the story of her historic and multifaceted family whose activism goes back to 1848. It was then her great-great-grandparents escaped from slavery; traveling to England to avoid recapture under the Fugitive Slave Act, they became well-known abolitionists.

In 2015 Preacely was honored with the Rosa Parks Humanitarian award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California. The SCLC is the only national organization founded by Dr. King.

Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), the Community Foundation of Howard County, and Cass County Community Foundation are serving as lead sponsors to support participation by a noted speaker for the “Doing the Dream” celebration.

“This includes support of the student convocations where we expect more than 1,500 students will have the chance to hear Ms. Preacely’s message,” said Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of Resource Development for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Region. “Along with the presentations at Kokomo and Logansport high schools, school superintendents from around north central Indiana have been invited to bring their students to the free convocation Feb. 1 and reservations are now being taken.”

To reserve tickets for the community banquet, go to or call 765-252-5500. To get more information about participating in the Feb. 1 student convocation, contact Allison Toren, program chair of General Studies and a lead on the “Doing the Dream” activities, at 765-252-5518 or

SOURCE: News release from Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region