Civil rights heroine Dorothy Height was born in Richmond, VA, on this day in 1912. Her civil rights career spanned nearly 80 years. For 40 years, she served as president of the National Council of Negro Women, working on issues such as voting rights, poverty and, in her later years, AIDS. She worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other central figures in the civil rights movement and helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971. In 1994, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004. Height was also a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and developed leadership training programs there. She passed away on April 20, 2010, at the age of 98. Upon her death, President Obama described her as the “godmother of the civil rights movement and a hero to so many Americans.”
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(Photo: Susan Biddle/The Washington Post via Getty Images)