“We have to realize we are building a movement.”
As we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month, it seems only fitting to acknowledge and remember an extraordinary and inspirational woman and activist, Dorothy Height.
Born on March 24th, 1912, in Richmond, Virginia, Dorothy dedicated her life to taking a stand for civil and women's rights. At a young age, she and her family moved to Rankin, Pennsylvania, where Height attended a racially-integrated school. In high school, she became skilled in public speaking, putting her talent towards taking part in political activism and anti-lynching campaigns.
After winning at a national oratory competition, Height was awarded a college scholarship. Although she was accepted into Barnard College in New York, the college later revoked her acceptance due to have already meeting their quota for black students.
Determined, she was later accepted into New York University and earned her bachelor's degree in education in 1930 and her master's degree in psychology in 1932. via: WashingtonLife
In 1937, after working as a social working for several years, Height joined the staff of the Harlem YWCA. It was here where she established a Center for Racial Justice and was first introduced to founder of the National Council of Negro Women, Mary McLeod Bethune, as well as U.S. first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
After meeting Bethune, Height began frequently volunteering for the NCNW, and in 1957 she became the organization's president. As President, Height would move on to become one of the leading figures of the Civil Rights Movement, working alongside such individuals as Martin Luther King Jr., Whitney Young, John Lewis, A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, and James Farmer.
In 1963, Height became one of the organizers for the original March on Washington, where she stood up with Martin Luther King Jr. as he delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.
In 1971 she joined forces with Gloria Steinem, Shirley Chisholm, and Betty Friedan, as they founded the National Women’s Political Caucus, an organization that supported women in getting elected and appointed into office.
In 1994, Height was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Bill Clinton, and in 2004 received the Congressional Gold Medal from George W. Bush.
Befriending United States President, Barack Obama, he lovingly referred to Height as "the godmother of the Civil Rights Movement,".
Height severed on the board of the NCNW, where she continued to fight for equality until her death on April 20th, 2010.
On February 1st, 2017, Heights legacy and contribution was once more honored through a Dorothy Height Forever stamp, which kicked off Black History month.
“We have to improve life, not just for those who have the most skills and those who know how to manipulate the system. But also for and with those who often have so much to give but never get the opportunity.”- Dorothy Height