Today Google Doodle Honored Dorothy Irene Height 102nd Birthday
Dorothy Irene Height (March 24, 1912 – April 20, 2010) was an American administrator, educator, and a civil rights and women's rights activist specifically focused on the issues of African-American women, including unemployment, illiteracy, and voter awareness. She was the president of the National Council of Negro Women for forty years, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.
Dorothy Height was born in Richmond, Virginia. During childhood, she moved with her family to Rankin, Pennsylvania, a steel town in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, where she graduated from Rankin High School in 1929. Height received a scholarship from the Elks which helped her to attend college. Height was admitted to Barnard College in 1929, but upon arrival, she was denied entrance because the school had an unwritten policy of admitting only two black students per year. She pursued studies instead at New York University, earning a degree in 1932, and a master's degree in educational psychology the following year. Height pursued further postgraduate work at Columbia University and the New York School of social Work (the predecessor of the Columbia University School of Social Work).
Dorothy Irene Height Career
Height started working as a caseworker with the New York City Welfare Department and, at the age of twenty-five, she began a career as a civil rights activist when she joined the National Council of Negro Women. She fought for equal rights for both African Americans and women, and in 1944 she joined the national staff of the YMCA. She also served as National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority from 1946 to 1957. She remained active with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority throughout her life. While there she developed leadership training programs and interracial and ecumenical education programs.
Height was named president of the National Council of Negro Women, a position she held until 1997. During the height of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Height organized "Wednesdays in Mississippi," which brought together black and white women from the North and South to create a dialogue of understanding.
American leaders regularly took her counsel, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Height also encouraged President Dwight D. Eisenhower to desegregate schools and President Lyndon B. Johnson to appoint African-American women to positions in government. In the mid-1960s, Height wrote a column entitled "A Woman's Word" for the weekly African-American newspaper, the New York Amsterdam News and her first column appeared in the March 20, 1965, issue on page 8.
Height served on a number of committees, including as a consultant on African affairs to the Secretary of State, the President's Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped, and the President's Committee on the Status of Women. In 1974, Height was named to the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, which published The Belmont Report, a response to the infamous "Tuskegee Syphilis Study" and an international ethical touchstone for researchers to this day.
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