Dr. Dorothy Height was always a woman of action. I am so glad that I had the honor of meeting her on several occasions in Washington, DC. Quiet, action-oriented with grace and elegance. She lived through 17 US Presidents and knew/met 12 of them. One of the early leaders of the National Council of Negro Women, Dr. Height was an pioneer of equality for all people and opportunities to empower women of color across the globe.
I took the photo above (with the gold hat) of Dr. Dorothy Height on March 1, 2009, the year before she died. Now she has her own US stamp in her honor that just came in in celebration of Black History Month. I hope that you will honor and buy several sheets of her stamps at your local post office.
Here's her Bio:
Dr. Dorothy Height was the National President of the National Council of Negro Women AND the National President of my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She was also on the stage with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the 1963 March on Washington and lived long enough to meet and congratulate America’s first black president, Barack Obama.
A tireless activist, Dorothy Height (1912–2010) dedicated her life to fighting for racial and gender equality. Although rarely gaining the recognition granted her male contemporaries, she became one of the most influential civil rights leaders of the 20th century. Height received the nation’s two highest civilian honors for her work, the Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
In 2003 I stood in a long line to have her autobiography, Open Wide The Freedom Gates, signed by her. It was a proud moment for me. One of my favorite quotes by Dr. Height states,
“Greatness is not measured by what a man or woman accomplishes, but by the opposition, he or she has overcome to reach his goals.”
Such an apropos quote for our present political climate here in America.
Dr. Height was a “fashionista!” You never saw her without her signature hats to accompany her stylish outfits. She lived during a time when the men often received the accolades. Yet, she has had the last laugh now that her smiling face is on the US stamp.
It was always a great privilege to see her escorted on stage during our Delta Legislative Conference in Washington (Delta Days In The Nations Capital). Her presence was an assuring factor that Delta women like Dr. Height were always focused on public service and social action.
I so admire Dr. Height and other women like her. The women featured in the new movie “Hidden Figures” remind me of Dr. Height. Stately. Trained. Talented. Working for the good of humanity.
Dr. Height was aware of the diversity yet unborn in this country. She remained civically engaged her entire life. Physical illness was the only force that closed the last chapter of her long life. She remained mentally sharp to the end.
As we continue to reflect on the those who have contributed to Black History Month, let’s pause and give thanks to a woman whose sacrifice and integrity made our nation and our world a better place to live.
Dr. Dorothy Height. Just another reminder that...
Black History IS American History.
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Carole Copeland Thomas is a 27 year speaker, trainer and consultant specializing in global diversity, empowerment, multiculturalism and leadership issues.