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Honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Dorothy Height

Posted at 7:49 AM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 07:55:15-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond native Dr. Dorothy Height left her fingerprint on many significant efforts around the country.

Her life’s work: a commitment to community service.

Height was a civil rights icon who advocated for more than five decades with such influence, presidents even sought her counsel.

“Her work speaks for itself. Even though she was not on that podium, she was one of the planners for the March on Washington with Dr. King. She also actually led desegregation of the YWCAs in the 1940s, so she was just a phenomenal woman” Vanessa Evans said.

Evans is president of the Richmond Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, — an organization that Dr. Height once led as its tenth national president.

She also served 40 years as president of the National Council of Negro Women.

Evans said this Wednesday her sorority and the community will celebrate Dr. Dorothy I. Height Day, on what would have been her 109th birthday.

In fitting fashion, a community drive-through book drive will be held at the Hull Street Library. It's a nod to one of Height’s passions: literacy.

“Wednesday between 12:30 and 1:30, you can drive by the Hull Street Library located at 1400 Hull Street and the RPS Lit Limo will be there to accept your new or gently used book. If you cannot make that time or day, you can go to Amazon and order your book and it will be delivered directly to the Hull Street Library. If you do come to the drive through, wear Dr. Height’s signature color, which is purple. You can even wear a purple hat. She would love that because whenever she took a picture, she always had on a hat” Evans said.

The hope is that this week the community will reflect on how Height worked until her death, advocating for equal rights and jobs and advancing opportunities for women.

“She was very active late in life, which was awesome to see. When you saw her and saw how excited she was about National Council of Negro Women, about Delta Sigma Theta, about civil rights in general, it just made you want to do more, because she was such an inspiration to us” Evans added.

In her lifetime, Height was honored with numerous awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, The Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Citizens Metal -- to name a few.

Historical markers outside of the Hull Street Library are a reminder of how the Richmond native left the world much better than she found it, cementing her legacy for years to come.

Evans said those ordering books through Amazon in honor of Height have until March 31 to place their orders and have them shipped to the library. She said they’re also encouraging women in the community to consider joining the membership rolls of the National Council of Negro Women.

Other donations in Height’s honor can be made to the Richmond Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.