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Dr. Dorothy Height Feature: In Memoriam

Dr. Height discusses her purpose and legacy in this eight-minute clip. View three other short videos below and a partial transcript from the March 15, 2010 interview.  Please view additional video clips below.

March 15, 2010 Interview
with Dr. Dorothy Height

Dr. Dorothy Height dedicated her life to civil rights. She was an International civil rights leader who with Martin Luther King, Jr., A. Philip Randolph, Whitney Young, James Farmer, Roy Wilkins and John Lewis initiated significant change in the 1960’s. She received the Congressional Gold Medal and was very proud to be one of 200 people who received this award in 200 years. This interview was done in honor of Women’s History Month. Dr. Height turned 98 on March 24, 2010 and passed away at Howard University Hospital in DC on April 20, 2010. ICareVillage was fortunate in capturing her last video interview. Below is a portion of the full interview. To your right are additional videos to show other segments of this interview.

ICAREVILLAGE: Do you consider yourself a feminist?
DR. HEIGHT: Of course.

ICAREVILLAGE: What is your definition of feminism?
DR. HEIGHT: I think a feminist is a real woman and she is one who understands what it means to be a person who is a woman.

ICAREVILLAGE: How do you think women’s roles have changed in the last 100 years?
DR. HEIGHT: Tremendously. I used to work for forty years for the YWCA and just to look at the YWCA in the early 1900’s, when they first started in Boston they had classes in typing and there were protests that the work was too heavy for women and then we spent most of our life saying trying to say we wanted women to do something else besides type. I think life is completely changed. It is a different world in every way.

ICAREVILLAGE: Do you think women have made great strides?
DR. HEIGHT: Without those great strides we would not be where we are today. But neither would men. Because men have benefited by so many strides made by women.

ICAREVILLAGE: Can you give me an example?
DR. HEIGHT: Well for example in recent years there was a case in the Pennsylvania post offices that became very famous and the question was that they would not employ women because women required having special things to lift heavy packages, heavy boxes. The reality was the protests that women made meant that accepting the heavy equipment did not deny that a strong woman could lift more than a weak man but also they had to recognize that the mechanical things they had to lift the heavy loads reduced the number of places where men suffered. In other words men benefited by what happened for the women.

ICAREVILLAGE: What do you think is the biggest issue for women today?
DR. HEIGHT: The biggest issue for women today is advancement. I think we’ve come a long way but we have a long way to go.

ICAREVILLAGE: What do you think is the biggest project for women to advance in?
DR. HEIGHT: Well there are so many. I think we are unlimited in what women can do and we see it in the armed services, we see it in business, we see it in corporations, and of course we hope to see it in the presidency so I think there is an unlimited possibility of what women can be.

ICAREVILLAGE: Were you surprised to see an African American president in your lifetime?
DR. HEIGHT: I surely was. I was surprised but on the other hand I have to admit I have been working toward it my entire life.

ICAREVILLAGE: Do you think we will have a female president in the next 50 years?
DR. HEIGHT: Oh yes, surely.

ICAREVILLAGE: As you were fighting civil rights as an African American did you face discrimination as a woman?
DR. HEIGHT: I could never separate it. I never had a problem because on one side I was discriminated against because I was a person of color and the other side because I was a woman. I think those women of color who do not recognize that they have jeopardy on both sides have not come to grips with the fact that unless we achieve both women’s rights fully and rights of people of color fully, we as a person , each one of us, do not have all of our rights.

ICAREVILLAGE: What do you think is the biggest discrimination issue in the country today?
DR. HEIGHT: Well I suppose it still runs around issues like housing and of course things like unemployment but I think the worst is in housing.

ICAREVILLAGE: Do you see other types of discrimination with other ethnic backgrounds?
DR. HEIGHT: I think there is a way in which you can say that where people do not know each other is because they fear each other. In other words where there is scarcity and so much is for the majority and so much for the minority that it creates a situation in which each is trying to outdo the other to move forward. But I really believe that most of it is drawn from the fact that we are all trying to get a piece of the pie and that there is only one piece for minorities. And until there is a bigger piece available we will have these tensions. But for me they are just tensions. And they are not things that cannot be overcome.

Dr. Height discusses her purpose and legacy in this eight-minute clip. View Video

Dr. Height describes how faith plays a part in her longevity.
View Video

Dorothy Height remembers the Great Depression as a young student in NYC.
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When asked about her more memorable event of civil rights Dr. Height describes the March on Washington.
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Dr. Height talks about the importance of getting back to the basics.
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In this short clip Dr. Height lists her most influential women in history.
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Dorothy Height was born in Richmond, Virginia March 24, 1912. She dedicated her life to civil rights and was with the big six United Civil Rights Leadership along with Martin Luther King, Jr. , Whitney Young, A. Philip Randolph, James Farmer, Roy Wilkins and John Lewis. Height was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 by President Clinton and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004. She served as President of the National Council of Negro Women for over 40 years.   More….

In February ICareVillage launched a “Tipping your Hat to Elders” campaign allowing site visitors to create tributes to those who inspire us. Dr. Height was sometimes affectionately called “The Queen” and was known for wearing her colorful hats. If you have a moment, you can register on the site and post your own tribute to Dr. Height. You can share your message via Facebook or Twitter. Although the tribute tool requires registration we promise not to SPAM you. We respect your time.  Visit The Hat Tribute Page