Whenever the term civil rights is mentioned, a few of the names that immediately come to mind are Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks: two civil rights activists and leaders who are widely celebrated for paving the way in racial equality and acceptance. But one of the most largely unsung heros of the civil rights movement has finally gotten the praise that she rightfully deserves. Her name is Dorothy Height.
Today marks what would have been Dorothy Irene Height's 102nd birthday, making Google's intricate doodle dedicated to her all the more powerful. With a NYU Bachelor's degree in Education and Master's degree in Psychology under her belt (she received it after being rejected by Barnard College simply because of the color of her skin), Height constantly fought to educate those around her on racial and gender prejudice, advocating for equal opportunity when it came to jobs and the often egregious conditions that "people of color" had no choice but to work in. She even planned a series of meetings with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt during the 1930s in an effort to broaden her reach.
Height further solidified her influencial role by also becoming the voice for feminism. As the President of the National Council of Negro Women (1957) and member of the YWCA, she confidently championed women's rights — and humans rights as a whole — working hard to put herself at "the forefront of every major civil rights event of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, including working with Martin Luther King, Jr., to plan the 1963 March on Washington – the only woman to help plan the march."
According to Time Magazine, Height also worked with Martin Luther King, Jr., offering her support on stage as he recited his famous "I Have A Dream" speech.
After making it her life's mission to end discrimation in all aspects of society, it's no surprise that she received a vast amount of accolades during her lifetime, ranging from the Presidential Citizens Medal (1989),the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1994) and the Congressional Gold Medal (2004). In her eulogy, President Barack Obama credited her as the "godmother of the civil rights movement."
Her unwavering determination in spearheading the movement to promote love and peace makes her one of our favorite love icons.
(Image Source: spectrum.columbiaspectator.com)
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