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Dorothy Height was an African-American civil rights and women’s rights activist as well as an administrator and educator. For forty years, she was the president of the National Council of Negro Women.
See the fact file below for more information on the Dorothy Height or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Dorothy Height worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Early Life and Education
- Dorothy Irene Height, popularly known as Dorothy Height, was born on March 24, 1912 in Richmond, Virginia.
- Her parents were James Height and Fannie Burroughs.
- She and her family moved to Rankin, Pennsylvania when she was five years old.
- She attended Rankin High School, a racially integrated school, and graduated in 1929.
- While in high school, Rankin was an active participant in social and political campaigns, such as the anti-lynching campaign.
- She was also a skilled orator and won a national oratorical contest.
- Because of her win she received a college scholarship from the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (or The Elks) which is a fraternal order in New York City.
- In 1929, Dorothy was admitted to Barnard College. However, she was not able to enroll because of the school’s unwritten policy of admitting only two African-American freshmen per year.
- She attended New York University instead.
- She earned her undergraduate degree in education from NYU in 1932.
- In 1933, she earned her master’s degree in educational psychology from the same university.
- She attended Columbia University and the New York School of Social Work for her postgraduate studies.
Career and Contributions
- Dorothy’s first job was as a social worker in the New York City Welfare Department.
- As a caseworker, she served underprivileged communities in Harlem, New York.
- In 1937, Dorothy met Mary McLeod Bethune who was, at the time, founder and president of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW).
- Dorothy worked with and was mentored by Bethune until Bethune’s death in 1955.
- In 1944, she began to work at the Harlem Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) facilities for black women.
- In YWCA, she advocated for making working conditions better for black domestic workers.
- She was a strong advocate for the rights of African-Americans and women.
- Her work led her to be elected to a national position in the YWCA.
- As the YWCA’s National Interracial Education Secretary, she planned the programs and led the implementation of the organization’s integration policy nationwide.
- She became the first director of the organization’s Center for Racial Justice in 1965.
- She retired from the YWCA in 1977.
- In 1957, two years after Mary Bethune died, Dorothy Height became the fourth president of NCNW.
- In the 1960s, she was a key leader in organizing voter registration in the South and voter education in the North.
- She launched programs for students who are also civil rights workers.
- In the 1970s, she led NCNW to win grants for black women to get vocational training and assistance in entrepreneurship.
- Dorothy Height was well known for her leadership in advocating racial equality, women’s rights, equal pay, and education.
- Aside from her work in NCNW, she was also an expert advisor on women’s issues for governmental committees.
- She retired from NCNW in 1996 after serving for forty years.
- Her expertise and prominence as a civil rights advocate leader also made leaders approach her for counsel.
- She advised First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and President Lyndon B. Johnson.
- She was part of the organizers of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Awards and Legacy
- Dorothy Height was well-known for her leadership in advocating racial equality, women’s rights, equal pay, and education.
- Throughout her lifetime, she received numerous awards from the government and various organizations.
- Some of these awards were the Freedom from Want Award (which she received in 1944); the Citizens’ Medal Award (in 1989); the Presidential Medal of Freedom (in 1994); and the Congressional Gold Medal (in 2004).
- In 1971, she founded the National Women’s Political Caucus together with Shirley Chisholm, Gloria Steinem, and other potent social figures.
- In 1986, Dorothy organized the first Black Family Reunion Celebration which put a spotlight on and strengthened the traditions of the African-American family.
- Since its founding, the celebration has attracted millions of people.
- She has received 24 honorary degrees.
- In 2004, she was inducted into the Democracy Hall of Fame International.
Personal Life and Death
- She was never married.
- She did not have any children.
- Her memoir is entitled Open Wide the Freedom Gates.
- Dorothy died on April 20, 2010 at age 98 in Washington, D.C.
- Her funeral service, held nine days after her death, was attended by former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
- The headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women, located on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., was named the Dorothy I. Height Building.
Dorothy Height Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Dorothy Height across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Dorothy Height worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Dorothy Height who was an African-American civil rights and women’s rights activist as well as an administrator and educator. For forty years, she was the president of the National Council of Negro Women.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Dorothy Height Facts
- Dorothy’s Early Life
- Social Work Timeline
- Word Scramble
- Fact or Bluff
- NCNW Newsletter
- Respected Leader
- Civil Rights Work
- Well-Deserved Awards
- Community Collage
- Dear Dorothy
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Link will appear as Dorothy Height Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 9, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.