“I want to be remembered as someone who used herself and anything she could touch to work for justice and freedom…. I want to be remembered as one who tried.” Dorothy Height
Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
Dorothy Height died today at age 98. Dr. Height was the longtime president of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and the leading female voice of the 1960s civil rights movement. And she was truly, throughout her long and productive life, Eshet Chayil, a woman of valor.
For African Americans, for the Jewish Americans who participated in the struggle for civil rights, for all of us, the civil rights movement was and is a human rights movement.
Dr. Heights’ early international and human relations experiences resulted in her broadening of the NCNW agenda into one of cooperation and collaboration in response to the needs of people both here and throughout the world. Throughout her long career, she worked with and was honored by many in the Jewish community. In 1965, the National Council of Jewish Women presented her with the John F. Kennedy Memorial Award. She went to Israel to participate in a 12-day study mission sponsored by the Institute on Human Relations of the American Jewish Committee
Since 1988, the Religious Action Center (RAC) has awarded the Civil Rights Leadership Award honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to outstanding leaders in the black and Jewish communities. Dr. Height received the award from RAC honoring her as an individual who has toiled to ensure racial justice in American society and worked to strengthen intergroup relations.
Eshet chayil mi yimtza v’rachok mip’ninim michrah
An accomplished woman, who can find? Her value is far beyond pearls.
Kapah parsah le’ani v’yadeiha shil’chah la’evyon
She extends her hands to the poor, and reaches out her hand to the needy.
Piha patchah v’chochma v’torat chesed al l’shonah
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the lesson of kindness is on her tongue.