Rest in Peace, Dorothy Height

April 21, 2010 at 7:49 am 34 comments

by Brian Leubitz

There are some people that are special to us all. You want to hold them close, try to bring some of their courage, or their charisma, or their passion, into our own lives. There’s Ghandi and MLK, both fighters for liberty and justice for all. These are simply special people that have moved into the history books because they have done so much for all mankind. And yesterday, we lost one of the great fighters for justice, Dorothy Height.

She may not have received the same kind of attention that Martin Luther King, Jr, or Malcolm X received, but she was right there all the way. As the head of National Council of Negro Women, she worked with civil rights leaders all the way. She was there at the I Have a Dream speech, and she was there at the less glamorous times. More recently, she was a leader in the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and worked with MLK’s widow, Coretta Scott King, on behalf of LGBT rights.

In 1997, she received an award for this work from HRC. Here is her acceptance speech:

She truly was a hero for all Americans, a modern legend who never stopped fighting for justice. Rest in peace, Dorothy Height.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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34 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ronnie  |  April 21, 2010 at 8:20 am


  • 2. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  April 21, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Yes, like Harvey Milk, Dorothy Height will be greatly missed. HOwever, I am sure that she and Coretta will join all the other human rights leaders in working from beyond the grave for justice.

    • 3. fiona64  |  April 21, 2010 at 11:13 am


      Apropos of nothing, Richard, I have set up an RSS feed of your blog to my LiveJournal so that I can read your posts in a more timely fashion. :-)


  • 5. Tim  |  April 21, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Many many thanks to Dorothy!! Rest in peace…

  • 6. Kathleen  |  April 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Did I miss something, or did she manage to give the entire speech without ever saying the words “gay” “lesbian” “transgender” or “sexual orientation”?

    • 7. Andrea  |  April 21, 2010 at 2:16 pm

      Then again, last I checked HRC doesn’t have “Gay” or “Lesbian” in their name either. Maybe she was just following their lead?

      It’s pretty tepid, but a splice job of this still could have made a great No-on-8 ad… better than that abstract Morgan Freeman voiceover ad about Japanese American internment during WWII anyway.

      • 8. Kathleen  |  April 21, 2010 at 2:26 pm

        I take your point, Andrea. Do you know of any public statements she ever made that made overt reference to human/civil rights as they impact glbt people? Did she ever come out for marriage equality, for example?

        I’ve seen all the lgbt sites paying homage, yet I’ve not been able to find any public statement she ever made. I’m not saying she wasn’t an ally; I’m just saying I’m having trouble finding any direct documentation (other than people saying she was).

        Can you point me to any references?

      • 9. Andrea  |  April 21, 2010 at 4:15 pm

        All I can find so far is that Ms. Height and Coretta King lobbied for ENDA back in 1996, but juicy quotes are hard to come by. I’m not having any more luck than you are.

  • 10. Straight Ally #3008  |  April 21, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    RIP, Dorothy Height. Another person well worth knowing that I have only now been made aware of, thank you.

    When will the antis realize they’re on the wrong side of history? Actually, I suspect most of the leadership can read the writing on the wall, but they’ll wring every last donation out of the willing masses until they lose the fight.

    • 11. nightshayde  |  April 21, 2010 at 4:41 pm

      They may or may not realize it about 50 years after equality is legally mandated. Some of them will never realize it, unfortunately.

  • 12. Bolt  |  April 21, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    She sounds like a fascinating woman. Is there a biography published about her?

  • 13. Bob  |  April 21, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    daunting words, that quote, “in the struggle for equality and justice, your only reward may be, to stay, in the struggle for equality and justice” . it’s an ongoing thing, and humble as it is , a reward indeed, to be in the struggle, with other’s who acknowldedge it for what it is.

    Maybe Kathleen, it’s our opportunity, to find if indeed she did mention the words we are searching for, to hear some validation, Or maybe it’s our job in this struggle to put the words there. Definetly, we are persons, so we fit under that umbrella, but now it is time to take our place.

    Thanks Dorothy, may the spirit of your words and intentions, lead us, as you say, together towards the goal of equality and justice for all.

    The struggle is long and exhausting, but thank goodness we’re in it. bringing our weight to bear on that long moral arc.

    We will not tire, we will not fail, we continue the struggle is our reward. Where would we be without it.

    • 14. Bill  |  April 22, 2010 at 8:36 am

      Do not be daunted by those words, Bob.

      Be HONORED that the universe has deemed you strong enough to participate in the fight.

      And then fight.

      • 15. Bob  |  April 22, 2010 at 10:34 am

        Thanks for the encouragement Bill, and fight I will, sometimes in ways that seem unoticeable, like my personal struggle with family of origin and their religious beliefs,
        Yesterday I was priviledged by a visit from a senior in our community, discussing some of his life’s struggles, and he showed me an article in which he had been honored for donating $100,000 to the Mark Bonham Centre of Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto Canada. This came about because an article had been published in the University Magazine about LGBTQ issues. There was some homophobic remarks expressed about those comments from other alumni, so Jack Hallum decided to talk back, with more than just words, he created an endowment fund for tomorrows youth to continue the research and study of these issues.

        We talked about the importance of the use of such donations, particularily for senior gays, without family, and also any small donations, he teaches one way to fight back.

        The other day in the news in Nova Scotia Canada, a mixed race couple, had a cross burned on their lawn, followed the next day by their car being set on fire. It caused them to move from the small community in which they had built their home. Shocking news, considering progress we’ve made in these issues, as Dorothy says, we’re in the struggle, It didn’t end when the laws changed, It’s embarrassing to witness these things, as Canadians, we are sometimes smug about our peace loving nature, the home of the free.

  • 16. G. Rod  |  April 21, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    On a less related matter, the following is an interesting read on why DOM Act ought not tocontinue to impact on tax policy/practice. An timely argument, but one that may gain favour in Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley vs the Feds on this particular matter.

  • 17. Kathleen  |  April 21, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    The ACLU has filed an amended complaint in the Constance McMillen case to include the information about the sham prom. There are links to the docs filed with the court, as well.

    • 18. Sagesse  |  April 22, 2010 at 5:28 am


      There is proposed federal legislation to protect students from harassment in public schools. The article describes the discussion at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, which pretty much went dormant during the Bush years.

      As a Canadian, I don’t fully understand how the US definition of civil rights works, but how many laws do you have to pass to protect various LGBT civil rights before the government (Supreme Court?) can no longer deny that there are such rights, and that there is discrimination (hence the need for laws). Hate crimes, ENDA, ending the HIV immigration ban, bullying in schools. DADT is separate, because of the whole ‘unit cohesion, the military isn’t civilian life’ argument, but DOMA looks more suspect with each one of these debates.

  • 19. Ronnie  |  April 22, 2010 at 8:19 am

    We’re Here…We’re Queer….AND WE ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE!!!!!…..<3….Ronnie:

    • 20. David Kimble  |  April 22, 2010 at 8:51 am

      Thanx, Ronnie – that was beautiful and so true! <3 David

      • 21. Ronnie  |  April 22, 2010 at 8:53 am

        You’re welcome David K…<3…Ronnie

  • 22. Bill  |  April 22, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Simply a beautiful human being.

    It makes me wonder why God, in his ‘infinite wisdom’ doesn’t create us ALL using this model of compassionate humanity?

    • 23. Ronnie  |  April 22, 2010 at 8:45 am

      Hey Bill….It makes you think…the Hateros are always spouting out “God made ALL in his image”….hmmm….?????….<3…Ronnie

      • 24. fiona64  |  April 22, 2010 at 9:40 am

        “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” — Ann Lamott

  • 25. David Kimble  |  April 22, 2010 at 8:57 am

    @Sagese #17 – Here is a quote from the article, you referenced in your remarks. I am curious, as to why Title IX was not addressed in the Prop8 trial?

    “The U.S. sought to join the lawsuit to address violations of the Equal Protection Clause and Title IX, both of which prohibit discrimination based on sex, including discrimination based on gender stereotypes.”

    <3 David

    • 26. Sagesse  |  April 22, 2010 at 9:02 am

      Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, anyone…. but I believe Title IX applies to education, and so is not relevant to Prop 8?

      • 27. David Kimble  |  April 22, 2010 at 9:08 am

        Title IX addresses education, but also is a broad umbrella of other protections. <3 David

  • 28. David Kimble  |  April 22, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 says that any institution receiving federal funding may not discriminate against anyone based on gender. The act was passed in 1972 as a result of combining acts VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act. Title VI states that, “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color or national origin, be excluded from, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.[3] Title VII forbids discrimination in hiring and employment based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.[3] In the context of Title IX and women’s rights it is important to note that Title VI includes no mention of gender bias whereas Title VII does.

    I believe it may not apply, but I am still curious, as to why Tittle IX,. which is part of a broader Civil Rights Act, passed in 1964. Perhaps it’s the language of the Act, since it does not specificially name marriage…I dunno. <3 David

    • 29. Sagesse  |  April 22, 2010 at 9:23 am

      Not my field, so I’m afraid I don’t know. However, Prop 8 is a constitutional challenge, and Title IX is part of the Civil Rights Act, not the Constitution. May have something to do with it.

  • 30. Ronnie  |  April 22, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Happy Earth Day…Here is an article posted on….

    Gay and Green on Earth Day
    By Julie Bolcer

    Today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, an apt time to acknowledge the leading role the LGBT community plays in fostering green consciousness.

    According to the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, “An Echelon Magazine 2009 online survey reports that ‘two-thirds (66%) of lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender adults, say that it is important to support environmental causes, compared with 56% of non-LGBT adults. Three-quarters (75%) of LGBT adults (compared with 53% of heterosexuals) believe global warming is happening right now, and by more than two-to-one proportions, 39% of LGBT adults say they have seen or read Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ while only 20% of heterosexuals say they have seen or read it.’”

    Gay concern about protecting the environment for future generations is especially admirable given the fewer numbers of gay parents, according to the Gay and Lesbian News,

    “Most significant,” said Bob Witeck of Echelon, “is the measure of global environmental stewardship. Although LGBT households are not parenting as frequently as our non-gay counterparts, 51% say they are concerned about the planet we are leaving behind for future generations – compared with 42% of heterosexual adults. This signals a very high sense of community and cooperation that many LGBT citizens know first-hand.”

    (me) If we are too worship one all mighty deity it should me Gaia aka….Mother Earth…We take from her….We give back to her….We are all her children plant, animal, human, mineral, element…..(Except Clowns)…..

    So what are somethings that you can do to take care of our mother who does not discriminate against race, species, gender, age, nationality, religion, politics, orientation, or creed (unless you’re a Clown)….

    1. Reduce the use of plastic bags….In some super markets you can get a discount if you bring your own reusable bags…you reduce litter and you just may have saved a baby Seals life.

    2. Plant a tree….they produce Oxygen

    3. Use energy saving light bulbs…yes they cost more but last longer and use less energy so not only are you using less of Gaia’s spirit…you are reducing your energy bill.

    4. Use an energy efficient dish washer….wile you are washing dishes by hand a lot of water is being wasted…droughts are not cool

    5. Used recycled paper…not only are less chemicals used…but you save a tree….more Oxygen…Get it?

    6. If you’re not using it…unplug it….because energy is still pumping through it.

    7. Invest in a battery recharger

    8. Use eco friendly products for cleaning, grooming, wearing.

    9. If your old clothes are not wearable enough to give to a shelter….reuse them for cleaning, gift wrapping, reupholster, make a cool bag or wallets and cell them while giving a portion of the proceeds to eco friendly organizations or animal protection agencies.

    10. If you can’t walk to your destination use public transportation….its there for a reason…and if you can carpool or use a bike….or a SEGWAY (I want one sooooo…….bad)

    There is plenty more we can do to make sure Gaia survives for all future generations….We all share this planet….Gay, Straight, Bi, Lesbian, Trans, Black, White, Latino, Asian, Muslim, Red Wood, Hibiscus, Polar Bear, Rainbow Fish, Young or Old, Religious or non- Religious, Rich or Poor, Repub or Dem….(Except Clowns)….so with that I leave you with “Earth Song” by the late great one and only and never will be another, Michael Jackson (RIP)…..<3…Ronnie:

    • 31. David Kimble  |  April 22, 2010 at 9:59 am

      Thanx, Ronnie, that was great! I really like the song and message is so relevant and true. If only mankind would realize the damage done to the planet on a daily basis all year. BTW – my book “On the Planet Parador” addresses what mankind has done to the planet. <3 David

      • 32. Ronnie  |  April 22, 2010 at 10:19 am

        No problem….<3…Ronnie

  • 33. David Kimble  |  April 22, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Here’s a video for Richard A. Walter (Soon to be Walter-Jernigan.
    <3 David


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