Born in the early 1910’s, she felt full on the crushing blow of oppression. She’d rise above these obstacles in a particular fashion, each accomplishment outweighing the last. She wouldn’t take no for an answer, nor would she submit to subpar conditions.
When Barnard College accepted her with the caveat that her skin color barred her from setting foot on the campus, she declined. Instead, she’d leave New York University with two degrees, having earned her credentials on her own terms.
Looking back over Height’s journey, there’s a common theme of resilience. She’d sport her trademark work ethic well before her part in the civil rights movement.
Her time in the illustrious organization would prove to be pivotal in changing the reality of life in America for BIPOC. She’d lead the charge in combating racial violence and disenfranchisement. She served as President of the NCNW for four decades, ushering in a wealth of systemic change under her direction.
Even the highest office in the US has acknowledged Height’s contributions. In fact, she was tapped many times by the oval office for general guidance. This trend would continue well into the late 2000’s, with President Barack Obama being the last Commander-In-Chief to consult with her prior to her death in 2010.
Dorothy Height spent a century dedicating her life to the betterment of her people. She held herself to a standard that we all could benefit from aspiring to. People like Dorothy Height are rare gems that only appear every so often. But when they do, they remind us all of the great power within all of us. The power to do the right thing, bar none.