Renowned civil rights and human rights activist Doctor Dorothy Height, chair of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) received the Congressional Gold Medal earlier this month from the US House of Representatives, in recognition of her lifelong commitment helping the African-American community. Congresswoman Diane Watson (D-CA) introduced the legislation honoring Dr. Height in the House. “[She] has continually inspired others, from the poor to world leaders, to achieve at the highest level,” Watson commended, according to the California Women’s Agenda. A similar measure was introduced by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI).
Dr. Height began her career in the late 1930’s as assistant director of the Harlem YWCA, where she became instrumental in fostering the YWCA’s strong position advocating full integration. In the late 1940’s, she became president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and then in 1957, Height became president of the National Council of Negro Women. During the 1960’s, Dr. Height worked closely with civil and human rights leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. Height is credited with establishing the Bethune Museum and Archives for Black Women, the first institution dedicated to black women’s history. Height retired from the YWCA in 1977 and from the NCNW in 1998. She is the recipient of several awards, including the Citizens Medal Award from President Ronald Reagan in 1989 and the Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 1994.