NAACP Saddened by Loss of Civil Rights Giant Dr. Dorothy Height


WASHINGTON DC - The NAACP family is saddened by the passing of Dr. Dorothy Height, civil rights pioneer, social justice advocate and long time friend of the NAACP.

"Dr. Dorothy I. Height was the beloved matriarch of the civil rights movement," stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. "The nation has lost a stalwart champion for civil rights and gender equality. With perseverance and strong determination Dr. Height broke through the proverbial glass ceiling as the only woman working side by side with the "Big Six" to secure civil rights legislation in the 1950s and 60s. Today we have lost a strong voice and champion for women and children. Her lasting contributions will live on through the lives of those she touched and mentored," added Brock.

"I was introduced to the legacy of Dr. Dorothy Height through my 93 year-old grandmother, who considered Dr. Height one of her heroes. Our first meeting was at the 1993 March on Washington, where I was an organizer for the event. Dr. Height was a tireless and committed fighter for civil rights. Despite being in poor health, she joined the NAACP late last year in our health care war room to advocate for health care room. The defining legacy of Dr. Height will be the countless individuals she inspired and mentored into positions of great leadership," stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. "She will be most remembered for what she did to encourage women to reach greater levels of achievement, but the truth is that she also guided and mentored the ambition to service and contributions of thousands of men. Her passion for a just society and her vision for a better world inspires us all."

"Dr. Height never saw a mountain she could not overcome, from being denied entry to Barnard College to achieving a master's degree in psychology at NYU and lobbying President Kennedy to sign the Equal Pay Act in 1963. She was the matriarch of the civil rights movement, and will be greatly missed," added NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond.

NAACP Chairman Emeritus Myrlie Evers-Williams reflected: "I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dr. Dorothy Height. I recall her formidable presence when she spoke during the funeral of my husband Medgar. She spoke earnestly about the civil rights struggle and how the conditions affected young people, especially about their treatment at the hands of law enforcement. Although childless, she was Mother to all of us-she was family. Hers was a steady, loving influence on all of us involved in the struggle for justice and equality. She was a woman of great drive who never lost sight of the goal of equal rights and human rights for all Americans, particularly women. Her program, "Wednesday's in Mississippi" brought together hundreds of young women to register to vote and make sure their voices were heard in elections and in our democracy. America has lost an icon today-an illustrious beacon shining on the human spirit. We shared a remarkable time together in the civil rights movement, and now I share with the rest of the world in mourning the loss of such a wonderfully caring and spiritual woman."

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.