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Something Must Be Done
One Black Woman’s Story

Peggy Wood with Parker Brown
With a Foreword by H. Douglas Barclay

Cloth $9.95    |    0-8156-0877-2    |    2006

Sheds light on the early and midtwentieth-century middle-class black family life, a theme that is rarely covered in African American narratives.

"Retired social worker and longtime civil rights activist Peggy Wood presents Something Must Be Done: One Black Woman’s Story, a memoir of her life from being born into the pre-World War I American middle class, a group that a small yet significant number of black Americans had joined, to her years of learning at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute and the Atlanta School of Social Work, to thirty years of campaigning for civil rights. Offering a unique insider’s view of early and mid-twentieth century middle-class black family life, Something Must Be Done offers a much-needed peek into an oft-overlooked social dimension of Africa-American culture, as well as an inspirational chronicle of working for the noble cause of civil equality."
The Midwest Book Review

Despite Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and pervasive discrimination, a substantial number of African Americans entered the middle class before World War I. This was a life—little known to outsiders—of college graduations, formal weddings, and singing around the piano in the parlor. Peggy Wood was born into such a world in 1912. Her memoir is a parting of the curtains that kept much of this world from view. For this reason, Something Must Be Done belongs on the shelf alongside Sarah and Elizabeth Delaney’s 1993 classic Having Our Say.

Peggy Wood memorably recounts her journey from Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute to Atlanta and the School of Social Work. From the South the story moves to Lima, Ohio, and Poughkeepsie, New York, where she and her husband led black community centers. In 1950, the scene shifts to Syracuse, New York, where Peggy Wood was a social worker and active as a campaigner for civil rights for more than three decades.


Peggy Wood is a retired social worker and longtime civil rights activist. She lives in Syracuse, New York. Parker Brown, to whom this memoir was dictated, is a much-published tax attorney and oral historian. He lives in Syracuse, New York.

5 x 8, 152 pages, 17 black-and-white photographs

Something Must Be Done

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