Introduction - Dorothy HeightDorothy Height is one of the most famous women in black history. She was a tireless leader of the civil rights movement and for women's rights. United States President Barack Obama called her the "the godmother of the Civil Rights Movement". On this page is a list of facts about Dorothy Height including why she is famous, where she was educated, and how she became a leader of the black civil rights movement. This information is written for both adults and kids, who may find it a useful resource for Black History Month reports.
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Dorothy Height Early Years Facts
- She was born on March 24th of 1912, in Richmond, Virginia.
- Dorothy Height became politically active at an early age; in High School she participated in anti-lynching campaigns.
- In 1932 she graduated from New York University with an undergraduate degree and went on to earn a Masters Degree in educational psychology the very next year.
- She did postgraduate work at Columbia University and the New York School of Social Work.
- After college she became a social worker for the New York City Welfare Department.
- In 1937 Height joined the staff of the Harlem YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association). The YWCA is the largest women's organization in the world and advocates leadership and rights for young women. While there she directed the integration of all the organizations centers.
- She joined the National Council of Negro Women at the age of 25.
Dorothy Height Civil Rights Leader Facts
- From 1957 to 1997 she served as president of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) which is a non-profit organization that works to increase opportunities and the quality of life for African-American women.
- As president of the National Council of Negro Women she became a leader of the black civil rights movement; working with other important leaders including Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, A. Philip Randolph, Whitney Young, James Farmer, and John Lewis.
- She was a founding member of the Council for United Civil Rights Leadership (CUCRL). The CUCRL was a council made up of several civil rights organizations including the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), led by Dorothy Height.
- She helped organize the historic 1963 March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
- Dorothy Height was Chairperson of the Leadership Conference's Executive Committee. The Leadership Conference is the largest civil rights organization in the United States.
- She was highly respected by many people including several U.S. Presidents. She spoke to President Lyndon B. Johnson in regards to appointing more African-American women to important government positions and to U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower about desegregating public schools. She was invited by U.S. President Barack Obama to be an honored guest at his inauguration in 2009 where she sat near him on the stage.
- A famous Dorothy Height quote is "I have been in the proximity of, and threatened by, the Klan; I have been called everything people of color are called; I have been denied admission because of a quota. I've had all of that, but I've also learned that getting bitter is not the way."
- She was awarded the two highest civilian awards that can be bestowed on a U.S. citizen by the United States government; the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.
- She died on April 20th of 2010, at the age of 98, in Washington, D.C.
- Her funeral, on April 29th of 2010, was attended by many notable people including U.S. President Barack Obama.