Like countless other Americans, here at the Jewish Women’s Archive we were great admirers of Dorothy Height, who died on April 20 at the age of 98 and is being buried in Washington, DC today. Given what we know about Dr. Height, we couldn’t help but be struck by President Obama’s statement that “the godmother of the civil rights movement” had “served as the only woman at the highest level of the civil rights movement, witnessing [italics added] every march and milestone along the way.”
Dorothy Height did so much more than witness the struggles and successes of the civil rights movement. As the New York Times said, “over the years, historians have made much of the so-called ‘Big Six’ who led the civil rights movement: the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., James Farmer, John Lewis, A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins and Whitney M. Young Jr. The paper notes that Height was “the only woman to work regularly alongside them on projects of national significance”; she was “very much the unheralded seventh, the leader who was cropped out, figuratively and often literally, of images of the era. [italics added again]
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