ACLU Marks Passing Of Civil Rights Leader Dorothy Height

April 22, 2010 4:02 pm

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NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union marks the passing of Dorothy Height, civil rights leader and tireless social justice advocate, who passed away Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU:

“With the passing of Dorothy Height, we have lost one of the truly great advocates for social justice. As someone forced to confront the stain of discrimination because of both her race and gender, Dr. Height was a pioneer in unifying the movements for racial and gender equality in America and she played a profound role in the enormous strides this country has made in both arenas.

“Denied admission to Barnard College in 1929 because the school had already met its quota of two African-American students, Dr. Height was unbowed, going on to earn two degrees from New York University and become a champion of those who struggled for equal rights. As a member of the Y.W.C.A.’s national leadership, she played a crucial role in the desegregation of Y.W.C.A. facilities nationwide and later founded its Center for Racial Justice. She was the longtime leader of the National Council for Negro Women and played formative roles in the efforts during the 1950s and 1960s to end school desegregation and expand voting rights and employment opportunities. In 1963, she was invited to witness the signing by President John F. Kennedy of the Equal Pay Act. And along with other greats of the women’s rights movement, she helped found in 1971 the National Women’s Political Caucus. Emblematic of her momentous contributions to American society, President Bill Clinton in 1994 awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

“We all owe Dr. Height a great debt of gratitude, and her unyielding commitment to helping this nation live up to its highest ideals will be sorely missed.”

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