20 April 2010

Mourning a Civil Rights Heroine

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Dorothy I. Height, an influential civil rights movement leader, passed away at 3:41 a.m. this morning at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC at the age of 98. She died of natural causes, and her death was announced by the National Council of Negro Women, of which she was president for 40 years.

Not only did Ms. Height fight in the civil rights movement to treat the problems of equality for the African American community as a whole, but also fought for equality for women in tandem; something that had previously been considered a completely separate issue altogether.

Height was also an executive of the Y.W.C.A, the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech Ms. Height was sitting within arm’s reach of him. And even in January 2009, when Barack Obama took the oath of office, Dorothy Height held a place of honor on the dais.

President Obama stated, “And even in the final weeks of her life,–a time when anyone else would have enjoyed their well-earned rest—Dr. Height continued her fight to make our nation a more inclusive place for people of every race, gender , background, and faith.”

Clearly her efforts have made an enormous impact on our society, and she will always be remembered for her contributions to the strides we have made today in terms of civil rights.

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