Dorothy Height: Unsung Hero of the Women’s Movement and Civil Rights

by Erika Stump

Photo credit: David Kohl, AP

Dorothy Irene Height died on April 20, 2010.  She was 98.  Although not a common household name like her dear friend, Rosa Parks, Ms. Height was a fundamental force of the civil rights movement and an icon in the struggle for women’s rights. Not to mention her role as an impeccable model of style…oh, those hats!

Born in Richmond, Virginia in 1912, Ms. Height’s displeasure with racial inequality began early in her life. The Pittsburgh YWCA refused to let her swim in their pool when she was a child.  Then, at nine years old, a white girl said they could no longer be best friends because Dorothy was black. As a young adult, Height was admitted to Barnard College, but when she arrived, she was told she could not enroll as the two seats for black students had already been filled.  Given her renowned resilience, she immediately hopped on a subway and registered at NYU, where she earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in five years. Continue reading “Dorothy Height: Unsung Hero of the Women’s Movement and Civil Rights”