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Cora Masters Barry on death of Dorothy Height

Cora Masters Barry, former first lady of the District, said Dorothy Height "was an integral part" of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center since its beginning.

The civil and women's rights icon died this morning at 98.

Height attended a "Blacks in Wax" program at the center, a Ward 8 recreation center that provides District youths with tennis lessons, tutoring and other activities.

The event, where children dress up and act as important figures in black history, may have been Height's last public appearance, Barry said.

"I'm so grateful that the kids at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center knew her," said Barry.

Last summer, the administration of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) unsuccessfully tried to evict Barry's nonprofit group, which runs the center's activities, from the building.

Height and poet Maya Angelou asked to meet with Fenty, who said he could not meet with them because of scheduling conflicts.

The slight became a hot political topic, spurring the D.C. Council to honor Height during the Congressional Black Caucus's annual conference in September.

The Fenty administration lost a court fight over the eviction and later relented, allowing Barry's nonprofit to remain.

-- Nikita Stewart

By Kendra Nichols  |  April 20, 2010; 9:05 AM ET
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Ms. Dorothy Height we will miss you. Thank You! Thank You! for all of your wonderful contributions to our society.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | April 20, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

This lady was so special that it is an insult to write an article about such an extraordinary person and put Fenty's name in the same article. He disrespected her in life, so please don't associate him with her passing. This is her moment for all of us to pay tribute to her work and accomplishments. Rest in Peace, Dr. Height.

Posted by: candycane1 | April 20, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Dorothy Irene Height (March 24, 1912 – April 20, 2010). DC Democratic Party Chair, Anita Bonds, issued the following statement on the passing of Dr. Dorothy Height: “The District of Columbia Democrats acknowledge the passing of Dr. Dorothy Height, famous, celebrated and outstanding American. Her legacy will live on through the millions of lives she touched during her lifetime of 98 years. During her most active years in the civil rights struggle, the average citizen in the Black community, the President of the United States, and governments across the world, sought her comforting presence, knowledge and wisdom. In recent times, her undying dedication to the call of justice and democracy was exemplified through her love for young people by connecting them to the rich history of their cultures and promises for a bright future through teaching that "you can be what you want to be" with preparation to better yourself -- be it President of the United States, world champion tennis athlete, accomplished college graduate or esteemed family. May Dr. Height rest in peace knowing that her journey has been an inspiration to her nation.” We are honoring the civil rights activist by remembering her when the DC Council presented her with a recognition Resolution last year. The recognition took place during the Congressional Black Caucus week in Washington DC at the Park at Fourteenth. A video and photos of the presentation of the recognition can be seen on the front page of our website at You can also see the video on YouTube at:

Posted by: wmaster | April 21, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

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