Dorothy Height who was a major link in the civil rights movement has passed on at 98.
WASHINGTON – Dorothy Height, the leading female voice of the 1960s civil rights movement and a participant in historic marches with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others, died Tuesday. She was 98.
Height led the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years. She continued actively speaking out into her 90s but had been at Howard University Hospital for some time. The hospital said in a statement she died of natural causes.
President Barack Obama called her “the godmother of the civil rights movement” and a hero to many Americans. Obama said in a statement that Height was the only woman at the highest level of the civil rights movement and witnessed “every march and milestone along the way.”
It was the second death of a major civil rights figure in less than a week. Benjamin L. Hooks, the former longtime head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, died Thursday in Memphis at 85.
As a teenager, Height marched in New York’s Times Square shouting, “Stop the lynching.” In the 1950s and 1960s, she was the leading woman helping King and other activists orchestrate the civil rights movement.
One of Height’s sayings was, “If the time is not ripe, we have to ripen the time.” She liked to quote 19th century abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who said that the three effective ways to fight for justice are to “agitate, agitate, agitate.”
The late activist C. DeLores Tucker once called Height an icon to all African-American women.
“I call Rosa Parks the mother of the civil rights movement,” Tucker said in 1997. “Dorothy Height is the queen.”
Height was on the platform at the Lincoln Memorial, sitting only a few feet from King, when he gave his famous “I have a dream” speech at the March on Washington in 1963.