It’s rare these days when both left and right, donkey and elephant, blue and red can agree on one person. That’s the kind of national treasure and stalwart heroine of justice that Dr. Dorothy Height was.

The Prez called her the “Godmother of the Civil Rights Movement” on the WhiteHouse Blog:

The President joined the rest of the nation in mourning  Dorothy Height:

Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Dorothy Height – the godmother of the Civil Rights Movement and a hero to so many Americans.  Ever since she was denied entrance to college because the incoming class had already met its quota of two African American women, Dr. Height devoted her life to those struggling for equality. She led the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years, and served as the only woman at the highest level of the Civil Rights Movement – witnessing every march and milestone along the way. And even in the final weeks of her life – a time when anyone else would have enjoyed their well-earned rest – Dr. Height continued her fight to make our nation a more open and inclusive place for people of every race, gender, background and faith. Michelle and I offer our condolences to all those who knew and loved Dr. Height – and all those whose lives she touched.

The President welcomed Dorothy Height to the Roosevelt Room of the White House for a meeting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year:

A Kiss for Dorothy Height

Michael Steele of the Republican National Committee said in a much less cool press release with no photo (via HipHopRepublican):

“Dr. Dorothy Height was an American trail blazer who dedicated her work and heart to creating opportunities that have afforded African Americans and women a chance to realize the American Dream. Dr. Height was and will always be an icon to all Americans for her forty years of remarkable service as the President of the National Council for Negro Women and her dedication as a leader of the Civil Rights Movement.
“Dr. Height’s historic accomplishments and contributions to America have been celebrated and honor by President’s and great leaders. In 1989, President Ronald Reagan presented Dr. Height with the Presidential Citizens Medal; in 1993 she received the NAACP Spingarn Medal. Also in 1993, Dr. Height was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame; in 1994 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton; and in 2004, on her 92nd birthday, President George W. Bush awarded her the Congressional Gold Medal.
“On a personal note, Dr. Height was a cherished friend and role model. Her life consistently demonstrated to the world the importance of mentoring and sharing individual accomplishments with the community in order to create and pass on to future generations the legacy of life, liberty and prosperity.
“One of my greatest honors and memories as the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, was presenting Dr. Height with a proclamation from the State of Maryland during the ‘Celebrating America’s Grand Dame Matriarchs: A Who’s Who Tribute To Dorothy Height’, for the vital role she played in the advancement of the Civil Rights Movement. It was through her soft words and diligent actions, she revolutionized the face of our country. My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Height family as we join you in the celebration and mourning of American Hero.”
As for me, I met Dr. Height only once at a Leadership Council for Civil Rights reception a few years ago. It was happy hour and Dr. Height was in her finest. She was a commanding and almost spiritual presence even confined to a wheelchair. Girlfriend was always looking good and looked years younger than her age. In contrast to Dr. Martin Luther King’s children, Dr. Height’s children relatives put themselves in the background and worked hard behind the scenes to facilitate the remembrance of Dr. Height’s work and to promote her name & work for its own sake.
I shook her hand and leaned over to kiss her cheek. There was just something about her that made you want to do that. I thanked her for all the opportunities she’d given young women like me. She just smiled generously. I reckon she used to hear that a lot, although it was pretty loud in the ballroom — not sure she heard me at all! Still, it was an honor to have a chance to meet her. She was sharp as a tack her whole life and had plenty to say about civil rights then and now — check out the video above.
My own mother surprised me this am and said she’d like to receive a membership to the organization Dr. Height founded — The National Council of Negro Women — for her birthday. It’s the first time she’s ever wanted something like that and I’m so proud of her. Honor Dr. Dorothy’s work and life by joining the NCNW or giving the gift of membership to a woman in your life that you’d like to honor.
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