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Height, champion for rights of African-Americans and women, dies at 98 Associated
Press (April 20, 2010) Dorothy Height, who as longtime president of the
National Council of Negro Women was the leading female voice of the
1960s civil rights movement, died Tuesday. She was 98.
Height, who continued actively speaking out into her 90s, had been at
Howard University Hospital for some time.
As a teenager, Height marched in New York's Times Square shouting, "Stop
the lynching." In the 1950s and 1960s, she was the leading woman helping
the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other leading activists orchestrate
the civil rights movement.
The late activist C. DeLores Tucker once called Height an icon to all
"I call Rosa Parks the mother of the civil rights movement," Tucker said
in 1997. "Dorothy Height is the queen."
Height was on the platform at the Lincoln Memorial, sitting only a few
feet from King when he gave his famous "I have a dream" speech at the
March on Washington in 1963.
"He spoke longer than he was supposed to speak," Height recalled in a
1997 Associated Press interview. But after he was done, it was clear
King's speech would echo for generations, she said, "because it gripped
Height became president of the National Council of Negro Women in 1957
and held the post until 1997, when she was 85. She remained chairman of
"I hope not to work this hard all the rest of my life," she said at the
time. "But whether it is the council, whether it is somewhere else, for
the rest of my life, I will be working for equality, for justice, to
eliminate racism, to build a better life for our families and our
Height received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 from President
To celebrate Height's 90th birthday in March 2002, friends and
supporters raised $5 million to enable her organization to pay off the
mortgage on its Washington headquarters. The donors included Oprah
Winfrey and Don King.
Height was born in Richmond, Va., and the family moved to the Pittsburgh
area when she was four. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees from
New York University and did postgraduate work at Columbia University and
the New York School of Social Work. (She had been turned away by Barnard
College because it already had its quota of two black women.)
In 1937, while she was working at the Harlem YWCA, Height met famed
educator Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder of the National Council of
Negro Women, and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who had come to speak at
a meeting of Bethune's organization. Height eventually rose to
leadership roles in both the council and the YWCA.
One of Height's sayings was, "If the time is not ripe, we have to ripen
the time." She liked to quote 19th century abolitionist Frederick
Douglass, who said that the three effective ways to fight for justice
are to "agitate, agitate, agitate."
Annual Edition 'Buying Power of Black America' report
breaks down billions in expenditures (January
19, 2010) Black consumers are responding to tighter economic
condition by focusing more of their spending on items and services
that improve their homes and lifestyle. That's one of the trends
revealed in the 15th annual report, "The Buying Power of Black
America," published by Target Market News. The report analyzes
spending for black households in 2008 and finds that