Women’s History Month: Dr. Dorothy Height

By Pam Canty, Intake and Screening Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan

As we celebrate National Women’s History Month, my thoughts go to back to May 1974. While employed by Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), I had a chance to speak with a phenomenal woman, Dr. Dorothy Height, leader, educator, and social activist. At the time, Dr. Height was the National President of the YWCA. When I called her for advice, I had no idea that I was speaking to a historian and a trailblazer.

While conducting research from the National Women’s History Museum, I discovered that Dr. Height was:

  • Born March 24, 1912, in Richmond, VA and later relocated to Rank, VA
  • An excellent student
  • Awarded a scholarship to Barnard College
  • Fourth president of the National Council of Negro Women and held that position for 40 years
  • Political advisor to Eleanor Roosevelt, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and President Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Awarded Citizens Medal Award from President Ronald Reagan

In 2010, Black Enterprise Magazine remembered Dr. Height’s now famous quote, “Greatness is not measured by what a man or woman accomplishes, but by the opposition he or she has overcome to reach his goals.” However great her public quotes remain, I will forever remember her advice given to me, “always maintain grace and dignity.”

On March 24, 2019, Dr. Height was awarded a historical marker in the Blackwell neighborhood where she was born. This historical marker was issued by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and dedicated on what would have been Dr. Height’s 107th birthday. Dr. Height died on April 20, 2010.

I hope this article helps you become more familiar with the contributions of Dr. Dorothy Height. She was a phenomenal woman. For more information, check out The History Makers and Investor’s Business Daily.

Pam Canty is an Intake and Screening Integration Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan and has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since 2005. As an Intake and Screening Coordinator, Pam helps seniors in Michigan apply for food assistance and other benefits.