Dorothy Height, leading civil rights and women’s activist died early this morning at 98, Howard University Hospital confirmed. No cause of death was given.

Height, who was chair and president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, worked in the 1960s alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and A. Philip Randolph. Height stood on the platform when Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington.

Height will also be remembered for her work with service organization, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, in which Height served as its 10th National President from 1946-1957. Height remained active with the sorority throughout her life.

According to CNN, President Obama called her a hero, stating “she served as the only woman at the highest level of the civil rights movement, witnessing every march and milestone along the way.”

Height was awarded the President Medal of Freedom in 1994 by President Clinton and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004. She was present among the small group selected to meet with President Obama at the White House recently for a summit on race and the economy.

Last month, rumors surfaced on the Web particularly on Twitter stating that Height passed. Wikipedia also reported Height’s passing but quickly confirmed its falsehood.

Height was born in Richmond, Virginia, and grew up in Rankin Pennsylvania. Her work in civil rights started in 1933 when she became a leader of the United Christian Youth Movement of North America. Height fought against lynching and for the desegregation of the armed forces.

Dorothy Irene Height will be missed by family, friends, comrades and the youth she shaped and mentored. Height said, “So long as God let’s me live, I will be on the firing line.”


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