Dorothy I. Height

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    - Pamela Green
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    - Valenda Newell/LIFE MEMBER
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    - Paula J. Lawson

HEIGHT Civil Rights Legend DOROTHY IRENE HEIGHT On Tuesday, April 20, 2010, Dorothy Irene Height, long-time women''s, civil and human rights activist, Board Chair and President Emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, (NCNW) and "godmother" of the American Civil Rights Movement, transitioned to eternal life. For her years of service to the nation, which stretched back to her work with former first Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Height was awarded America''s two highest civilian awards: the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 by President Bill Clinton and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004 through an act of Congress. Height''s name is synonymous with the NCNW, an organization she headed from 1957 when she was elected the organization''s fourth national president to 1998, when she became Chair of the Board and President Emerita until her death. She was a key figure throughout the Civil Rights Movement. She was the female team leader among the six leaders of the civil rights movement which included Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. At the 1963 March on Washington, Height was on the platform when King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech after convincing the leadership to allow the young preacher to speak last and more than five minutes. During the civil rights era, Height led NCNW to deal with unmet needs of women and their families by combating hunger and establishing decent housing and home ownership programs through the federal government for low-income families. The organization''s accomplishments under Height are numerous. Born in Richmond, VA, and reared in Rankin, PA, Height''s career as a civil rights advocate began in 1930 when she co-led protests against lynching in Times Square. In 1933, she became a leader of the United Christian Youth Movement of North America in the New Deal era. Height served on the National Board of the YWCA in the mId-1940''s and spearheaded the organization''s racial justice initiatives. From 1947-1956, Height served as the 10th national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and helped to expand the organization''s social activism in the United States and abroad. She pursued studies at New York University where she earned her Master''s Degree in social work. She has received 36 honorary degrees, the NAACP''s Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal. She is survived by her sister, Athanette Aldridge; three nephews, Phillip Aldridge; Bernard Randolph (Billie Jean) of St. Louis, Missouri; Daniel Aldridge, Jr., (Dorothy) of Detroit, Michigan; two nieces, Jean Randolph Linzey (Camerson Sr.), and Leuetta Henderson of Brooklyn, New York, great and great-great nieces and nephews, and a host of other relatives and friends, including one devoted friend/daughter, The Honorable Alexis Herman Franklin of McLean, VA. She also leaves to mourn her passing, her beloved National Council of Negro Women family and her devoted caregiver of 10 years, nurse, Mary Brown. Dr. Height will lie in repose at the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., headquarters, 633 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, on Tuesday, April 27 beginning at 6 p.m. The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Omega Omega Service will take place Wednesday, April 28, at 2 p.m. at Burr Gymnasium on the campus of Howard University. The Omega Omega Service is open to members of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the public. A Community Celebration will be held at Shiloh Baptist Church on Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. Funeral services will be held Thursday, April 29 at 10 a.m. at the Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. Interment at Fort Lincoln Cemetery will immediately follow the funeral service. Funeral arrangements by Stewart Funeral Home. Condolences may be sent to www.StewartFuneralHome.

Published in The Washington Post from Apr. 25 to Apr. 27, 2010
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