Statement of Ralph B. Everett, President and CEO of the Joint Center, on the Death of Dr. Dorothy I. Height

Apr 20, 2010, 10:08 ET from Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

WASHINGTON, April 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dr. Dorothy I. Height's extraordinary life spanned nearly a full century and much of the arc that represents America's advancement toward that more perfect union that the founders envisioned.  From an early age, she was an influential force in our national progress, advising presidents and other national leaders whom the vast majority of Americans know only from history books.  And until just a few weeks ago, she was still very much in the game -- teaching, advising, leading and inspiring.

We fondly remember Dr. Height's acceptance just last year of the Joint Center's Louis E. Martin Great American Award, and how she enthralled our Annual Dinner audience with a 20 minute address, delivered without notes, that artfully blended lessons and experiences from her life and career with a powerful vision for the nation's continued progress.

Dr. Height's great legacy was her success in broadening understanding of human and civil rights, and her guiding of generations of activists to take up the mantle of leadership in the struggle for racial equality.  Through it all, her steadfast commitment to the American ideal set a standard that continues to inspire young people to civic engagement and community service.  She played an important role in leading our country into a new era.  And her death today at age 98 reminds us of the great strides that can be achieved through the power of ideas, through faith in the ability of our political system to right its wrongs, and through the shining example of one's own dignity and grace under pressure.

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is one of the nation's leading research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses primarily on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color. The Joint Center is celebrating its 40th Anniversary. To learn more, please visit

SOURCE Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies