MOW Diary: A Second Chance at History

Jerlean Hopson made up for a lost time at the 50th anniversary of March on Washington.

Posted: 08/24/2013 03:35 PM EDT

Jerlean Hopson, left, with friend Sarah Mayo at the March on Washington. (Photo: Joyce Jones/BET)

Jerlean Hopson, 68, was just graduating from high school in 1963, so she was unable to attend the original March on Washington. She made a promise to herself, however, that if such an opportunity arose again she wouldn't miss it.

Hopson, who works as a human resources director for a factory on Long Island, New York, traveled to Washington with her friend Sarah Mayo, who will only admit to being older than 68, and the seven members of her Eastern Long Island NAACP branch.

The "Magnificent Seven," as they've dubbed themselves, may be a small group but are still very active. Hopson says they frequently participate in marches and other protests in their Southampton community.

Despite a history of long-time activism, Mayo is surprised that African-Americans are still struggling to achieve equality in so many key areas.

"I think we're starting almost anew now," she said. "Things are worse than ever in my humble opinion. I have three grandchildren and I just want to try and make this a better country for them so they don't have to go through what we've gone through."

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