This amazing woman, Dorothy Irene Height, just passed away in April at 98 years of age. And, wow, did she do A LOT in those 98 years! Winning a scholarship to college, she went on to become president of the National Council of Negro Women and director of the YWCA’s Center for Racial Justice, spending many decades fighting for equality for both African Americans and women, in the United States and overseas, particularly in Africa. Emphasizing the importance of family, she organized the Black Family Reunion Celebration which, 25 years later, is still going strong. She received numerous accolades over her lifetime including the coveted Congressional Gold Medal. (See a great bio here at the National Association of Social Workers Foundation site.)
Here’s one of my favorite Dorothy Height quotes:
“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.”
And here’s a book by and about her, and her life through the Jim Crow years and Civil Rights era–the good, the bad, and the ugly. She even helped organized Martin Luther King, Jr.’s march on Washington in 1963. As her mother said, “You are a smart girl. And there are many things you can do.” Well, she sure did.