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Honoring Dorothy Height

She loved herself some hats. So when they surprised her with a beautiful, ornately decorated purple hat at an event at the Anacostia museum last fall, Dorothy Height's face lit up like a Christmas Tree, and the gathering gave her a standing ovation. She was seated at our table as, of course, the guest of honor. That was not unusual.

Dorothy Height has been the honored guest at breakfasts, luncheons and gala dinners across America for decades now, gracing every event that she attended. And she deserved every second of adulation she received.

She personified the grace, grit and wisdom of our elders. She was one of the foundation stones upon which the modern civil rights movement rested.

Replaced? Never. Remembered? Forever.

Dignified is the word that comes to mind -- dignified, not dainty. There was a gentleness in her smile. She held your eyes. Her touch was light. But there was steel in her spine. She knew what she knew. And Dorothy Height knew America.

Her life of service was to a country where injustice once had the upper hand. To her crowning glory, she helped the nation trump that and more. Dorothy Height honored America with her presence.

By Colbert King  | April 20, 2010; 1:14 PM ET
Categories:  King  | Tags:  Colbert King  
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R.I.P. Dr. Height. Your work on Earth is done.

Posted by: gitouttahere | April 20, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

God has an exquisite sense of irony. With a surname like "Height" this lady was meant to stand tall above the petty mental constructs which created our American apartheid. Crown her with many gorgeous hats!

Mr.King, your eulogy of Dr.Height has made my heart sing. Bless you.

Posted by: martymar123 | April 20, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Mr. King,

Please write more about Dorothy Height.

Posted by: clwa | April 20, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Thank God, she lived to see Barack Obama elected President! What a fulfillment of her all her work, all her dreams, all her hopes.
Would that the rest of us pick up her work and fight on, answering the rising threats of violence today with the same dignity and grit and common sense she gave us.
God Bless, Dr. Height.

Posted by: cms1 | April 20, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

From the places where life was hardest come people with the best ideas about what makes life worth living.

This is not a defense of making life unjustly hard, it is an appreciation of people who begin in hard places, and go on to stand for something that elevates hundreds, thousands or millions of other people.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | April 20, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

But Ms. Height has, unfairly, NOT been remembered as the men of the civil rights movement have. Look at all the kids named 'Malcolm' or 'Martin'. How many 'Dorothy's or 'Coretta's or 'Mary McLeod's are there? Dorothy Height, Mary McLeod Bethune, Shirley Chisholm, have all been given the short shrift. The history - and popular culture - of the civil rights movement has short-changed women. RIP Dorothy, tell Eleanor and Mary McLeod I said 'Hi'.

Posted by: malcomj | April 21, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

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