Dorothy Height: A Voice We'll Never Forget

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - 01:05 PM

When we made a documentary about The Lincoln Memorial for our American Icons series, one person captured two seminal moments in the Memorial's history for us: Dorothy Height.  She was at the Memorial in 1939 when Marian Anderson sang triumphantly after being banned from performing at Constitution Hall.  And she was at the podium when Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his 'I Have a Dream' speech in 1963.

Height was the president of the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years, and is considered to be one of the most influential women of the civil rights movement. She died yesterday at age 98.

Height spoke to Studio 360 in 2005. It was awe-inspiring to meet someone who considered Eleanor Roosevelt to be her friend. When Height talked about seeing Marian Anderson sing and Martin Luther King, Jr. speak, you felt like you were right there with her. She also wore a fantastic hat -- apparently hats were her signature fashion statement. In this excerpt from the Lincoln Memorial episode, Height recounts, in crystal-clear detail, her memory of Anderson's concert at the Memorial.

The day we talked to her, Height expressed concern to us that the civil rights generation might be a victim of its own success. She feared that the next generation had taken these groundbreaking achievements for granted. In remembering Dorothy Height's life, we hope to help keep that legacy alive.


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Comments [10]

Aurora King from California

I had the privilege & honor of meeting Dorothy Height at the Yonkers, NY Y.W.C.A. many years ago. The "Y" was located in the poorest section of town where I served on the Board of Directors as the director of the Youth
Committee. Meeting Dorothy Height was the most memorable event in my long life. She was one of those rare
individuals whose presence exuded energy and dedication that was palpable to anyone fortunate enough to be in her presence. Unforgettable.

Jan. 20 2014 03:46 PM

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May. 18 2010 03:56 PM

Wow what a beautiful voice? Was she a soprano singer?

I had never know this singer. Happens so many times. You hear of them only when they are no more.

Nice blog.

Apr. 22 2010 06:03 AM

Very nice article. Definitely brought to light that I had forgotten about the many triumphant battles fought before my time. It is true that my generation and the ones after me dont think about how things would have been had important people like this never existed.

Apr. 21 2010 10:35 PM

Great article!! Very interesting!!

Apr. 21 2010 04:59 PM

I enjoyed reading your article about Ms. Height. She was indeed one of a kind.

Apr. 21 2010 04:32 PM

What a special lady. What a great contribution to the world. What a great loss.

Apr. 21 2010 04:22 PM

Great blog...Thanks for sharing :)

Apr. 21 2010 04:10 PM

My sincere condolences to Ms.Height and her family.
As time goes by many things are taken for granted especially our human rights and democracy. The next generation will lose sight at what significant accomplishments have been made for them to be where they are today.

a very influential person,

Apr. 21 2010 02:52 PM
Ms. Jboogie

We've certainly lost a legend, and another link to an era that so many of us have forgotten or simply take for granted. Thank you for remembering and honoring Ms. Height.

Apr. 21 2010 12:33 PM

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