Taking the Civil Rights Movement to new Heights

Eliza Salvati , Staff Writer

One of the greatest women in history, Dorothy Height, is known for her campaigning in the American Civil Rights movement and as a women’s rights activist. Born on March 12, 1912 in Richmond, Virginia, as a young girl Height’s family moved to a small suburb on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her Father was a local contractor and her mother was a nurse. 

Inducted into a racially integrated school when she and her family moved, Height took off in school and became very successful in the art of speaking, using this talent remarkably throughout her life. She graduated from the University of New York in 1930 with a bachelor’s degree in education and again with a masters degree in psychology in 1932 (biography.com).

Height started off her career in social work, and it became a passion that stayed with her for six decades, four of them with the National council of Negro Women (NCNW). Her life’s work really took off at the Young Women’s Christian Association facilities for Black Women (YWCA), which she joined in 1944. Height advised the integration of all its national centers in the United States. She also enhanced the conditions black domestic workers were working in. Then in 1957 she became the President of the NCNW and had the opportunity to fight right alongside Martin Luther King Jr., A. Phillip Randolph, and many more great leaders in the 1960s (Britannica).

In 1971 along with three other women, Height helped to found the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC), an organization that works to improve the status of women in government (Britannica). They help women develop and run successful political campaigns and instituting effective platforms. 

Height retired from working with the YWCA in 1977, but continued to run the NCNW for two more decades. She stepped down from the presidency in the 1990s but was still a member of the board until her passing in 2010. Height received many honors for all the work she did during her lifetime, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, bestowed upon her by President Clinton in 1994. She was also honored with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004, by President George W. Bush. 

Later in her life she befriended President Barack Obama who gave her the name “the Godmother of the Civil Rights Movement.” Height passed away in Washington, D.C. on April 20th, 2010. Following her death, in 2017 the United States Postal Service (USPS) started off Black History Month with a stamp honoring her work (biography.com).



Article Title: Dorothy Height Biography

Author: Biography.com Editors 

Website name: TheBiography.com

URL: https://www.biography.com/activist/dorothy-height

Access Date: May 6, 2021

Publisher: A&E Television Networks 

Last Updated: April 1, 2021

Original publish date: April 1, 2014


Article Title: Dorothy Height

Author: The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica

Website name: Encyclopedia Britannica 

URL: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Dorothy-Height 

Access Date: May 6, 2021 

Publisher: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc.

Last Updated: April 16,2021

Original publish date: April 26, 1999


Article Title: National Women’s Political Caucus 

Author: The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica 

Website Name: Encyclopedia Britannica 

URL: https://www.britannica.com/topic/National-Womens-Political-Caucus 

Access Date: May 10, 2021

Publisher: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc.

Last Updated : December 17, 2007

Original Publish Date: December 17, 2007



File Name of Image: Dorothy Height 

Original Source Link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/96173146@N00/50217415172 


File Name of Image: Dorothy Height 

Original Source Link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/28675521@N05/3512589627