On April 29, 2010, a funeral service was held at the Washington National Cathedral for Dorothy Irene Height. Ms. Height was born on March 24, 1912, and died on April 20, 2010. She was described as an “African American administrator, educator, and social activist.”
Ms. Height received her degrees from New York University after being denied entrance to Barnard College because of the school’s “unwritten policy of admitting only two black students per year.” She was president of the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.
Ms. Height understood the need to focus on “the legal barriers to human rights.” She played an active role in seeking rights for black Americans during the Civil Rights Movement and beyond and also in seeking rights for women. Ms. Height acknowledged that sexism existed in both the black and white communities. She worked for better communication between black and white women nationally.
If Ms. Height was know for anything (besides her hats), it was for her “dignified persistence” and modesty. At the end of the funeral service for Ms. Height, the choir sang words to the song “This Little Light of Mine” – a fitting song for someone who spent most of her life letting her light shine in the pursuit of civil rights and improved family life. Ms. Height will always be remembered, admired and appreciated.
“… This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine…
Shine my light both bright and clear,
Shine my light both far and near,
In every dark corner that I find,
Let my little light shine.”