Dorothy Irene Height
For nearly half a century, Dorothy Irene Height has given leadership to the struggle for equality and human rights for all people. Her life exemplifies her passionate commitment for a just society and her vision of a better world.
- Dorothy Height was born in Richmond, Virginia March 24, 1912, and educated in public schools in Rankin, Pa, a borough of Pittsburgh, where her family moved when she was four.
- Height established herself early as a dedicated student with exceptional oratorical skills. After winning a $1,000 scholarship in a national oratorical contest on the United States Constitution, sponsored by the Elks, and a record of scholastic excellence, she attended New York University and earned her bachelor and master's degrees in four years. She did postgraduate work at Columbia University and the New York School of Social Work.
- In 1933, Height became a leader of the United Christian Youth Movement of North America in the New Deal era. It was during this period that Height's career as a civil rights advocate began to unfold, as she worked to prevent lynching, desegregate the armed forces, reform the criminal justice system and for free access to public accommodations.
- Height was named to deal with the outcome of the Harlem riot of 1935.
Height was an organizer and served as Vice President of the United Christian Youth Movement of North America. In this capacity she was chosen as one of 10 American youth delegates to the World Conference on Life and Work of the Churches in Oxford England. Two years later (1939), she was a representative of the YWCA to the World Conference of Christian Youth in Amsterdam Holland.
Dorothy I. Height has received awards and citations including the:
- John F. Kennedy Memorial Award
- Hadassah Myrtle Wreath of Achievement
- Ministerial Interfaith Association Award
- Ladies Home Journal - Woman of the Year
- Congressional Black Caucus - Decades of Service
- President Ronald Reagan - Citizens Medal
- Franklin Roosevelt - Freedom Medal
- Essence Award
- Camille Cosby World of Children Award
- Caring Institute - Caring Award
- NAACP - Spingarn Medal
- National Women's Hall of Fame
- President Bill Clinton - Presidential Medal of Freedom
- On Height's 92nd birthday March 24, 2004, President George W. Bush presented her the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian and most distinguished award presented by the United States Congress.
She has received thirty-six Honorary Doctorate Degrees from universities and colleges such as: Tuskegee University, Spelman College, Pace University, Bennett College, Lincoln University, Harvard University, Howard University, Princeton University, New York University, Morehouse College, Meharry Medical College, Columbia University.