DOROTHY HEIGHT

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Dorothy Height was a civil rights and women’s rights activist who lead the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004. 

In high school, she employed her exceptional oratory skills in anti-lynching campaigns and received a college scholarship after winning a national oratory competition. After being accepted to Barnard, she was told that her admission was being rescinded because they already met their quota of black students. Undeterred, she applied to and was accepted at New York University.

She received her undergraduate degree in education and her masters in psychology from NYU. She went on to work as a social worker and for the YWCA in Harlem, most notably directing the integration of all its centers in 1946 and establishing its Center for Racial Justice in 1965.

In 1964, she started “Wednesdays in Mississippi,” uniting black and white women from the North and South to discuss relevant social issues.

She became a central figure in the Civil Rights Movement, working directly with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young, John Lewis and James Farmer. Dorothy Height was one of the organizers of the March on Washington, standing near Dr. King for his “I Have A Dream” speech. 

That day was notable for Height, however, because - despite her exceptional skills and experience as a leader - she was not asked to speak that day. As she told the Los Angeles Times, her male counterparts "were happy to include women in the human family, but there was no question as to who headed the household.”

In 1971 she helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus with Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan and Shirley Chisholm. 

“I want to be remembered as someone who used herself and anything she could touch to work for justice and freedom. … I want to be remembered as one who tried”—a motto she lived by until she passed away at the age of 98 in 2010.

CLEARLY, Dorothy Height was a boss ass bitch.

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