Psychologist and Sorror, Dorothy Irene Height

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Dorothy Irene Height (March 24, 1912 – April 20, 2010) was an American civil rights and women’s rights activist. She focused on the issues of African American women, including unemployment, illiteracy, and voter awareness.

Born on March 24th, 1912 in Richmond, Virginia, Height family later moved to Rankin, Pennsylvania where she excelled as a student. She did so well that she eventually received a scholarship to attend Barnard College in 1929, however was not able to attend because they were not allowing African American to attend college. She received a bachelor’s in education and master’s in psychology at New York University.

Her first job was as a social worker in Harlem, New York. Height was inspired by Mary McLeod Bethune, to begin working with the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). Her focus was the end the lynching of African Americans and restructuring the criminal justice system. 

Dorothy Height was also a member Delta Sigma Theta in 1939 through Rho Chapter at Columbia University. She was the 10th National President and oversaw the purchase of the Sorority’s first National Headquarters building.

NCNW supported voter registration in the South where she became the 4th president for the organization in 1957. She served this position for 40 years. Height’s prominence in the Civil Rights Movement and unmatched knowledge in organizing, meant she was regularly called to give advice on political issues. Eleanor Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson often sought her counsel. 

In 1963, Height, along with other civil rights activists organized the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. She played a role in the march, but was not invited to speak as no women were on the program at the least.

Height was awarded and recognized by many organizations, but in 1989 she received the Citizens Medal Award from President Ronald Reagan and in 2004, Height was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal. She was also inducted into the Democracy Hall of Fame International.

On April 20th, 2010, Height passed away at the age of 98. Her funeral was held at Washington National Cathedral.

Her first job was as a social worker in Harlem, New York. Height was inspired by Mary McLeod Bethune, to begin working with the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). Her focus was the end the lynching of African Americans and restructuring the criminal justice system. 

Dorothy Height was also a member Delta Sigma Theta in 1939 through Rho Chapter at Columbia University. She was the 10th National President and oversaw the purchase of the Sorority’s first National Headquarters building.

NCNW supported voter registration in the South where she became the 4th president for the organization in 1957. She served this position for 40 years. Height’s prominence in the Civil Rights Movement and unmatched knowledge in organizing, meant she was regularly called to give advice on political issues. Eleanor Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson often sought her counsel. 

In 1963, Height, along with other civil rights activists organized the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. She played a role in the march, but was not invited to speak as no women were on the program at the least.

Height was awarded and recognized by many organizations, but in 1989 she received the Citizens Medal Award from President Ronald Reagan and in 2004, Height was honored

with the Congressional Gold Medal. She was also inducted into the Democracy Hall of Fame International.

On April 20th, 2010, Height passed away at the age of 98. Her funeral was held at Washington National Cathedral.

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