Saturday, April 24, 2010


Posted by: Roxxanne Roxxanne

Dr. Dorothy Height, “the godmother of the Civil Rights Movement” died yesterday at age 98 at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC.

Dr. Height dedicated her entire life to fighting injustices against African-Americans, women and children EVERYWHERE!

Dr. Height was never married and is survived by her sister, Anthanette Height Aldridge of New York and every generation she inspired!

My mother and my two sisters had the pleasure of speaking on the same panel as Dr. Height and they also had the pleasure of having lunch with Dr. Height in 1999, at a fundraising event for the Children’s Scholarship Fund in Atlanta Georgia.

My mother was in awe of how, although Dr. Height was soft spoken, as soon as she began to speak her voice immediately commanded audiences' attention.

My mom also said that Dr. Height was so impressed with the speech my youngest sister (who is now in medical school, what up “Med School,” we miss you!) gave at the fundraising event that she congratulated my sister and asked if she could join them for lunch at their table.

Below are some GREAT facts about Dr. Height that I ganked from the Washington Post and I also included several pictures of Dr. Height stylin' as she ALWAYS did, in her signature hats.

Dr. Dorothy Height Facts

  • She held the position of president of the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years.

  • As a high school senior and the valedictorian, she won a national oratorical contest, and with it a $1,000 college scholarship. But the college of her choice, Barnard in New York, had already admitted its quota of black students. Instead, she went to New York University, where she graduated in three years and received a master's degree in educational psychology in her fourth year.
  • In the 1940s she lobbied first lady Eleanor Roosevelt on behalf of civil rights causes.

  • In 1994, Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

  • President Obama called Ms. Height "the godmother of the Civil Rights Movement and a hero to so many Americans." She "devoted her life to those struggling for equality . . . witnessing every march and milestone along the way."

  • Ms. Height helped orchestrate strategy with movement leaders including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, A. Philip Randolph and John Lewis, who would later serve as a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • In August 1963, Ms. Height was on the platform with King when he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

  • Dr. Height was later disappointed that no one was advocating for the rights of women of the many people who spoke that day at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Less than a month later, at King's request, she went to Birmingham, Ala., to minister to the families of four black girls who had died in a church bombing linked to the racial strife that had engulfed the city.

  • When President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, Ms. Height was among those invited to the White House to witness the ceremony.

  • In response to a public TV program, "The Vanishing Black Family," Ms. Height helped create and organize the Black Family Reunion Celebration, which has been held on the Mall and in cities across the country annually since 1985.

  • Ms. Height was among the few women to speak at the Million Man March on the Mall.

  • Ms. Height made money through jobs such as ironing entertainer Eddie Cantor's shirts and proofreading Marcus Garvey's newspaper, the Negro World.

  • Louis Farrakhan, the chief minister of the Nation of Islam, said in reference to Dr. Height, "I am here because you are here."

  • She went nightclubbing in Harlem with composer W.C. Handy.

  • She got her start as a civil rights activist through the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Sr., pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem (Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., represented Harlem in the U.S. House of Representatives).

  • Mary McLeod Bethune, president of the Harlem YWCA, was impressed by Ms. Height's poise and style in greeting the president's wife, and she promptly offered her a job.

  • Ms. Height became national president of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority in 1947, and she held that position until 1957.

  • On her 92nd birthday, she received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest decoration Congress can bestow.

"I came up at a time when young women wore hats, and they wore gloves. Too many people in my generation fought for the right for us to be dressed up and not put down."

No comments:

Post a Comment