Civil Rights Activists Dorothy Height Dies

Dorothy Height, former president of the National Council of Negro Women and leading female voice in the 1960’s died today at the age of 98.Height spoke at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, when King gave his “I have a dream” speech. She fought for school desegregation, employments opportunities, voting rights, and public accommodations. As a teenager she marched in New York’s Times Square, shouting “Stop the lynching!”

In 1989, on using the terms African American and Black, Dorothy Height said,

“As we move ahead into the 21st century and look at a unified way of fully identifying with our heritage, our present and our future, our use of African-American is not a matter of putting down one to pick up the other. It is recognition that we’ve always been African and American, but we are now going to address ourselves in those terms and make a unified effort to identify with our African brothers and sisters and with our own heritage. African-American has the potential of helping us to rally. But unless we identify with the full meaning, the term won’t make a difference. It becomes merely a label.

When we started using the term “Black” it was more than a color. It came at a time when our young people in marches and sit-ins made the cry “Black Power.” It represented the Black experience in the United States and the Black experience of those throughout the world who were oppressed. We are at a different point now. The struggle continues, but it’s more subtle. Therefore, we need in the strongest ways we can to show our unity as a people and not just as a people of color.”

Dorothy Irene Height also served as the director of the Center for Racial Justice of the national YWCA. You would find her by the sides of people such as; the head of core, James Farmer, the Urban League director, Whitney Young, of course Dr. King, and more.

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