Marching to honor the past, continue the dream

Cheryl Albright was a small child when tens of thousands descended on Washington 50 years ago.

"I don't remember but I heard a lot about it," she said.

Like many of us, she learned about it through news clippings and family stories. But she lived through the changes first hand.

"I was raised in the foothills of North Carolina," Albright said.

She was one of five black children to integrate the white school in town.

"It was a scary situation," she said. "For some kids, like myself, we were shattered - taken away from our friends and our environment, going into an environment really where we were not wanted. And we didn't have state troopers around us."

On Saturday, Albright was in Washington with the Providence Chapter of the NAACP with dozens of others. During the march, she remembered her own struggle and the non-violent fight others waged, which included her aunt, Mary Sue Gardner.

"I remember my mother telling me she was a part of the sit-ins in Greensboro," she said.

Albright said Gardner was a woman who fought for freedom, taught and garnered praise from all races.

"I just really want to play tribute to her at this march for her work," Albright said. "It's a time of reflection for me. It's a time of understanding what is my part in this struggle? How can I help? How can I support the movement? How can I support my nation?"

Albright hopes people remember this is a multi-racial fight.

"It was a fight for the soul of this nation," she said. "That meant blacks, whites, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, we all came together."

Although the nation has come a long way, Albright says there's more to do when you consider the violence in minority communities today is sometimes worse than back in the '60s.

Also, the minority unemployment rate is higher than it was 50 years ago. Thirteen percent of blacks don't have jobs, twice the rate for whites.

"There's nothing wrong with having, but we need to think about pulling our brother up out of the boat, because someone once pulled us out of that situation," she said.

Albright hopes the march rallies Americans to reunite and rally to keep fighting for the dream.