Back when very few African Americans attended law school, Donna Albro, JD, earned a law degree at Syracuse University. Since that time, this self-proclaimed “child of the ’60s” has devoted a career in higher education to promoting diversity and social change, focusing on creating a more inclusive society.
Over the years, Albro has addressed issues such as desegregation, gender equality, and affirmative action. Today, as a contributing faculty member in Walden University’s College of Undergraduate Studies, she is a mentor to the many women of color who enroll in her American government, interdisciplinary studies and social responsibility courses.
“I went to a women’s college and was mentored by women who believed there was nothing I couldn't do or be or have, but just as they mentored me, I should mentor others,” Albro says. “At Walden, I facilitate a single moms’ group on eCampus. I talk to students on the phone and write letters of recommendation for graduate school and jobs. I share who I am, and they realize I know where they want to be in the long term.”
In her work, Albro draws inspiration from African Americans who made their mark by challenging the status quo, during her formative years and afterward. She points to C.T. Vivian, the respected civil rights activist who worked with Martin Luther King Jr. at the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC) and went on to found several civil rights organizations before returning to leadership of the SCLC last year at age 87. She also mentions women such as Jocelyn Elders, the first African American appointed as surgeon general of the United States, and Flo Kennedy, the late political activist and lawyer who was among the first African-American women to graduate from Columbia University’s law school.
“The ’60s gave us tremendous possibilities. It’s important to me to acknowledge individuals who stood up at a time of peril and made it possible for me to be where I am today,” says Albro.
She believes February’s Black History Month celebration provides a similar opportunity for everyone: “It gives us an understanding of history and the people who make up our tapestry. The founding fathers gave us a framework, and we have moved to fulfill the ideal of a just and global society. The dream of a society in which everyone matters might still be a dream, but it’s something we should aim for daily.”
In various activities throughout February, members of the Walden community will share their stories and insights about African Americans who have influenced or inspired their education, research, careers, or social change initiatives. These include:
“Celebrating the Contributions of African Americans,” a live webinar on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. Eastern time, featuring the following Walden community members: Dr. Ronald Craig, program director, School of Public Policy and Administration; Dr. Alice Duhon-Ross, program director, The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership; Dr. Phyllis Morgan, faculty member, School of Nursing; and Dr. Sean Stanley, DBA graduate, School of Management.
“Inspiring the Next Generation of African-American Leaders,” a live Facebook chat on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 1 p.m. Eastern time, featuring Chris Rey, a 2007 BS in Business Administration graduate and mayor of Spring Lake, N.C.
On-demand webinars by Walden students, alumni, and faculty members who discuss African Americans who have inspired them throughout their lives.
Register for the live webinar and access all of these resources at www.WaldenU.edu/blackhistory.