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Dorothy Height was an educator and administrator who was also a well known civil rights and women’s rights activist. She was born in Richmond, Virginia and moved to Rankin, Pennsylvania as a child. Despite being admitted to Barnard College in 1929, she was not allowed to attend because the school had an unwritten policy about only allowing two black students per year to attend the school. She instead attended New York University where she eventually earned her master’s degree in educational psychology. In ironic twist of fate, Barnard College wound up naming Height an honorary alumnae in celebration of the anniversary the historic Brown vs. Board of Education case that ended segregation in schools.
Height’s civil rights activist experience began when she joined the National Council of Negro Women of which she later became president. As a prominent women’s rights activist, she worked as a consultant on African affairs to the Secretary of State, the
President’s Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped, and the President’s Committee on the Status of Women.
Another notable accomplishment for Height was being named to the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. The commission published the Belmont Report in response to the now infamous “Tuskegee Syphillis Study.”
After a life spent in service to advancing the rights of women and minorities, Height passed away on March 25, 2010 at the age of 98 years old. The following interview is the last one she did before her passing. The interview was completed by icarevillage.com and is part of their series of interviews of prominent civil rights leaders. Height discusses her life and experiences as an activist. As her last interview, it offers a unique perspective of her taking one last moment to reflect back on what she feels her most meaningful contributions and experiences were.