Virginia State Seal

Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Historical Highway Marker “Dorothy Height (1912–2010)” To Be Dedicated in Richmond

US postage stamp honoring Dorothy I. Height

Dorothy I. Height, born in Richmond where she resided as a child, was a civil rights leader; she worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr., and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994

 The marker text is reproduced below

A state historical marker issued by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources will be dedicated this weekend that recalls the life of Dorothy I. Height, an advocate for women and a civil rights leader, born in Richmond, who worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr. and was a chief organizer of the March on Washington in 1963, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In addition to the state historical marker, the ceremony will also dedicate a plaque sponsored by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., that recalls Height’s tenure and achievements as the 10th national president of the sorority between 1947 and 1956, in addition to her career milestones.

The public ceremony to dedicate both markers will begin at 3 p.m., Sunday, March 24, at First Baptist Church of South Richmond, located at 1501 Decatur Street (23224) in the city’s Blackwell neighborhood, where Height was born. Following the ceremony at the church, the markers will be unveiled at their location a short walk away at Hull Street Branch Library, 1400 Hull Street. A light reception after the signs’ unveiling will be hosted at Imani Catering & Conference Center, at 1506 Hull Street.

Speakers during the ceremony for both signs will include Ellen F. Robertson, Richmond City Council member for District 6; Dr. Colita N. Fairfax, a professor of social work at Norfolk State University and vice-chair of the Virginia Board of Historic Resources; Connie L. Cuffee, president of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Alumnae Chapter; Senior Pastor Dr. Dwight C. Jones; Preston A. Page, of the Dorothy Height Event Committee; and the Reverend Dr. Michelle Kelly McQueen-Williams, of First Baptist Church of South Richmond, who will serve as mistress of ceremonies.

Separate musical contributions will be performed by the Huguenot High School Choir and the Delta Pearls of the Delta Sigma Theta Society.

The state historical marker notes that Dorothy I. Height was born in 1912, and lived in the Blackwell neighborhood of Richmond’s Southside, the one-time city of Manchester, until 1916. As an adult, she worked for more than 50 years “for racial justice and gender equality,” in the words of the state marker.

As a member of the national staff of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) from 1944 to 1977, “Height fostered interracial dialogue and moved the YWCA toward full integration,” the state marker reads. She also “promoted economic development and voting rights and advised United States presidents,” as president of the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years.

In 1963, Height worked with Dr. King to organize the March on Washington, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994.

The Dorothy Height state marker was approved for manufacture and installation by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources, which has the authority to designate new historical markers. The marker’s cost was covered by a federal transportation grant.

The dedication ceremony is sponsored by the Dr. Dorothy I. Height Highway Marker Committee in partnership with the Richmond Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, First Baptist Church of South Richmond, and DHR.

Virginia’s historical highway marker program, which began in 1927 with the installation of the first historical markers along U.S. Route 1, is considered the oldest such program in the nation. Currently there are more than 2,600 official state markers, most maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation, and by local partners in jurisdictions outside of VDOT’s authority such as Richmond.

[PLEASE NOTE: DHR markers are erected not to “honor” their subjects but rather to educate and inform the public about a person, place, or event of regional, state, or national importance. In this regard, markers are not memorials.]

Text of state historical marker:

Dorothy Height (1912-2010)

Dorothy I. Height, civil rights leader, was born in Richmond and lived in this neighborhood until 1916. For more than 50 years she worked for racial justice and gender equality. Serving on the national staff of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) from 1944 to 1977, Height fostered interracial dialogue and moved the YWCA toward full integration. As president of the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years, she promoted economic development and voting rights and advised United States presidents. She worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was a chief organizer of the March on Washington in 1963. Height was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994.

 

Updated June 4, 2019