To visit the website of a certain cherished African-American institution is to experience a slideshow of some of the most significant women of our time, of times past and times to come. Individuals who have made a difference — and still do. A stellar Who’s Who: from Ruby Dee Davis to Johnnetta B. Cole, Shirley Caesar to Soledad OBrien and many more.
That institution — Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. founded Jan. 13, 1913 by 23 collegiate women at Howard University — is gearing to celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, and to pursue an even more impressive next 100 years.
The fact that the late Dorothy Irene Height (March 24, 1912 – April 20, 2010), was the national president through such critical years (1946-1957), of such a storied women’s institution as Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, which has been such an integral part of the fabric of the nation and the world, is notable enough.
Yet a further look at Height’s resume and legacy illustrates what the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority always has been about, and continues to promote.
Height an educator and social activist, so much so that she was called godmother of the Civil Rights Movement, also served for 40 years as president of the National Council of Negro Women. She served as chairperson of the executive committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights — largest civil rights organization in the nation.
She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.
Thus as a counsel to U.S. presidents and first ladies alike, Height was seated onstage as an honored guest for the Jan. 20, 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Photo: Dorothy Height