-Dr. Dorothy Height
My blog today is an excerpt from the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON — Dorothy Irene Height, a pioneering voice of the civil rights movement whose activism stretched from the New Deal to the election of President Barack Obama, died Tuesday. She was 98.
Height, who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and led the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years, was known for her determination and grace — as well as her wry humor. She remained active and outspoken well into her 90s and often received rousing ovations at events around Washington, where she was easily recognizable in the bright, colorful hats she almost always wore.When Obama won the presidential election in November 2008, Height told Washington TV station WTTG that she was overwhelmed with emotion.
"People ask me, did I ever dream it would happen, and I said, `If you didn't have the dream, you couldn't have worked on it," she said.
Height dedicated most of her adult life to the National Council of Negro Women, where she first worked under her mentor, Mary McLeod Bethune, who founded the group. Height took over in 1957 and led it until 1997, fighting for women's rights on issues such as equal pay and education. She developed programs such as "pig banks" to help poor rural families raise their own livestock, and "Wednesdays in Mississippi," in which black and white women from the north traveled to Mississippi to meet with their Southern counterparts in an effort to ease racial tensions and bridge differences.
To celebrate Height's 90th birthday in March 2002, friends and supporters raised $5 million to enable her organization to pay off the mortgage on its Washington headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue, just a few blocks from the White House. Herman said Height "believed very strongly that we as black women deserved to be on this corridor of power."
Rest in peace, Dorothy. You helped open the eyes of the ingnorant and changed the world for the better.