Dorothy Height

Civil-rights leader and women's activist Dorothy Height.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations

The civil-rights leader Dorothy Height describes changes in Harlem that she saw over time, and her attachment to the neighborhood. Dorothy Height first moved to Harlem to live with her sister while she attended New York University in 1929. Active in the Christian Youth Movement, she represented Harlem as one of ten American young people who worked with Eleanor Roosevelt in planning the World Youth Congress held in 1938. In 1939, she went to Washington, where she met Mary McLeod Bethune, the president and founder of the National Council of Negro Women, who invited her to become its executive secretary. Height became the elected president of the NCNW in 1957, and in the early sixties joined the Council for United Civil Rights Leadership, a group key to the organization of the March on Washington and other critical steps in the civil-rights movement.

Read Oral History

Photo Essay: The Streets of Harlem
"Can we think of another neighborhood in the world that has the kind of resonance that Harlem has? Greenwich Village, and neighborhoods in London, but I think it's hard to beat Harlem."
—Robert O'Meally

Arts and Culture
The flowering of Harlem music, theater, and writing is explored by Columbia faculty and recalled by eminent African Americans social leaders.

The Neighborhood
Harlem at different times was a magnet for Jews, West Indians, and African Americans from across the United States.

Reflections on Adam Clayton Powell, the odyssey of David Dinkins and political culture itself in Harlem.

Columbia Next Door
Quotations on Columbia’s role in the Harlem community.

The Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia.

Paul Robeson
One of the most prominent black Americans of the 1930s and 1940s, Robeson won critical and popular acclaim for his stage and screen roles.

Ahead of Their Time
From Sid Luckman to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Columbians have often been ahead of their time.
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