One of my all-time favorite personalities is Dorothy Height, as I think about women for justice and civil rights. She was born in 1912 during a rough time in American history for women of color. She was an excellent student during her years in elementary and high school. She was admitted to Bernard College in 1929 but was not allowed to attend the college because she was black. She then applied for New York College and received a bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree in psychology. This just proves you can slow down a dream but you can't stop the dream with perseverance as the driver. She began working as a social worker and eventually took a position at the YWCA. Soon she was on a mission to integrate the YWCA's across the country.
She became interested in being a part of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). There she began to drive communities to start anti-lynching campaigns around the country. She became President of the NCNW and continued her work for 40 years. The organization was able to fund other organizations that were doing civil rights work.
She was standing on the podium when Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. She and other women were not allowed to speak as there was discrimination against women speakers even in the black churches.
First Lady, Elenora Roosevelt, President Lyndon B Johnson, and President Eisenhower sought her council around civil rights issues. She was a strong force. Even when she was not asked to be one of the speakers (due to male gender issues of the day), Dorothy worked continuously during the civil rights movement with Dr. Martin Luther King; she was an excellent organizer. She had the right connections and persuasion to be a significant part of the civil rights movement.
She was awarded the President's Medal of Freedom in 1994
In 1989, she received the Citizen's Medal Award from President Ronald Reagan, and in 2004, Height was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal. Height was inducted into the Democracy Hall of Fame International the same year. She also received an estimated 24 honorary degrees. She passed away at age 98.
What a remarkable legacy of civil rights work.
See other great things she accomplished in her biography at;