Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Civil Rights Pioneer Dorothy Height dies

Dorothy Height, one of the great civil rights leaders in our history, died this week at 98.  She was an ally of everyone struggling for equality.

On her first day of college at Bard, she was told she couldn’t enroll because the college already allowed two African Americans in, and that was their quota.  Undaunted, she went on to study educational psychology at New York University.

She was honored by the LGBT community at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) national dinner in 1997. At the time, Height said that while we've come far as a civil rights movement, we haven't yet reached our goal.

"Civil rights are civil rights. There are no persons who are not entitled to their civil rights," Height said. "So many of the gains that we thought we had made seem more tentative than they ought to be. But it only means we have to recognize that we have a long way to go, and that we have to go that way together."

Several LGBT groups took a moment to honor height's work. Darlene Nipper, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Deputy Director, said that "a huge part of Dorothy Height's legacy will be the grace with which she directed her power for the good of all people." And Donna Payne, HRC's Deputy Director for Diversity, said that Height "taught us to reach out to others, and to get the conversations going."

(Thanks to for much of this information.)

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