Dorothy Height Stamp Unveiled
The United States Postal Service kicked off this year’s Black History Month observances by dedicating the Dorothy Height Forever stamp during a ceremony at Howard University. The 40th stamp in the Black Heritage series honors Height, a tireless activist, who dedicated her life to fighting for racial and gender equality. She became one of the most influential civil and women’s rights leaders of the 20th century. Richard Allen, the first elected and consecrated bishop in African Methodism, was commemorated on the 2016 Black Heritage Stamp.
“The Postal Service is proud to honor civil rights icon Dorothy Height, an American treasure, whose illustrious career spanned almost a century,” said Ronald Stroman, deputy postmaster general and chief government relations officer, who dedicated the stamp. “The Dorothy Height Forever stamp will serve as a lasting tribute to her life and legacy of seeking equality and justice for all Americans, regardless of ethnicity, gender or race,” he continued.
Stroman was joined at the stamp dedication ceremony by U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA); Alexis Herman, president, Dorothy I. Height Education Foundation; Ingrid Saunders Jones, chair, National Council of Negro Women; Naima Randolph, Dorothy Height’s great niece; Wayne A.I. Frederick, president, Howard University; and Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The Dorothy Height stamp features artist Thomas Blackshear, II’s portrait of Height. The painting is based on a photograph shot by Lateef Mangum in 2009. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp.
In 1963, the Height-led National Council of Negro Women joined the Council for United Civil Rights Leadership. Height was an architect of the August 1963 March on Washington, where she shared the stage with Martin Luther King, Jr. It was Height who pushed to include a voice of youth like John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and insisted on no time limits for King’s speech.
Gender equality was also important to Height, who fought for the rights of women, particularly women of color. President John F. Kennedy named her to his Commission on the Status of Women, which was chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt. Height attended the 1963 White House ceremony where Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act. In 1971, she helped form the National Women’s Political Caucus.
In 1977, Height officially retired from the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), for which she worked for 40 years. In addition to numerous honorary degrees, Height received the nation’s two highest civilian honors. In 1994, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A decade later, President George W. Bush presented her with the Congressional Gold Medal. In 2009, she was a guest of Barack Obama when he was sworn in as the nation’s 44th president.
Ms. Height was a lifelong United Methodist as well as a celebrated member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She was honored by the AME Church Council of Bishops at the 1984 session of the General Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, and spoke at the funeral of Deaconess Rosa Parks in 2005 at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC.
Contributions from United States Postal Service and the United Methodist News Service.