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Margaret Peters

Margaret Peters

Written by Kristina Schulz, University Archivist and Coordinator of Special Collections

The Dayton community holds many stories. Native Daytonian Margaret Peters has devoted a considerable amount of her adult life to writing the stories of African Americans, both in and outside of Dayton. As an educator and historian, she has devoted many years to teaching an accurate history of African Americans since the early 1960’s. This history has served as inspiration to her many students in Dayton Public Schools and to the wider community. 

Margaret Peters graduated from the University of Dayton in 1959 and began her teaching career at Roth High School. Peters went on to earn a BS in 1963 and an MA in 1972, both from the University of Dayton. In response to the demand from parents to teach African-American history,  Peters was appointed Black History Resource Teacher for the Dayton Public Schools in 1968. Her work was inspiring and fruitful. Peters researched and published stories of African Americans from early history to modern times. She wrote Striving to Overcome: Negro Achievers in 1969, which was published by Dayton Public Schools, and the Ebony Book of Black Achievement in 1970. With her brother Wendell Peters, she co-authored an article, Blacks in Ohio History in 1980. She developed a course in African-American history at Colonel White High School and was able to use this research to develop her book, Dayton’s African American Heritage, published in 1995, with a second edition in 2005. 

Peters was honored with an "Excellence in Teaching" Award by the National Council of Negro Women in 1991. She has also been honored by UD with an Alumni Award in 1992 for her commitment to teaching African-American culture and history. She was awarded the National Education Association’s Carter G. Woodson Award in 1993 and the Southern Christian Leadership Meritorious Award in the same year. She has been one of the Top Ten Women in Dayton and was honored with induction into the Dayton Walk of Fame in 2002.

Peters is a "voice of courage" in the Dayton community. She has worked to write an accurate history of African-Americans and continues to write and speak. Her telling of the story of African American history has instilled pride in black students and reflected the richness of their history and culture.