Google scored some major cool points today for featuring the legendary civil rights leader, Dorothy Height as their doodle. Today, March 24, 2014 would have been Height’s 102nd birthday. Height has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, the two highest honors awarded to an American civilian. This woman has earned our respect as the godmother of the civil rights movement.
President Obama called Dorothy a hero, saying she “served as the only woman at the highest level of the civil rights movement — witnessing every march and milestone along the way.” Height sat right behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington.
Height wasn’t only fighting for the rights of Blacks, she was also fighting for the rights of women. She co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus with Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan. If social media existed in Height’s time, she’d have an enviable amount of followers and hashtags like #WednesdaysInMissisippi, which was a program she organized that helped strengthen racial ties by flying interracial groups of Northern women to meet with Black and White women in Mississippi. There would also be #BlackFamilyReunions, which she also organized, which were large gatherings celebrating the culture and traditions of the Black community.
Without Dorothy Height, there would be no National Council of Negro Women and without that Black women would be without representation of national and international concerns and we would not have the opportunity to realize our goals for social justice and human rights in action. I’d say Height’s powerful legacy lives on. Thank you Dorothy Height.