Congratulates Dr. Dorothy Height on Receiving Congressional Gold
D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, other Congressional
leaders, and President Bush today congratulated Dr. Dorothy Height
on receiving the Congressional Gold Medal, the most distinguished
award bestowed by the United States Congress. The ceremony took
place in the Capitol:
Heights good friend and mentor, Mary McLeod Bethune, once
said: 'Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without
it, nothing is possible. With it, everything is possible.'
America pays tribute to a humanitarian of profound faith in God
and in her country; a patriot who has devoted her life of service
to our democracy; and a pioneer who always believed that a new day
of justice and freedom was possible. I would also add a woman of
timeless dignity and grace.
Dorothy Height, the struggle for equality in America in the 20th
Century - for civil rights, for womens rights, for voting
rights, for human rights - is the story of her life.
time when women were overlooked and underappreciated, Dr. Height
was often the only woman at the table. During one meeting of the
White House civil rights panel, she took a seat next to President
Lyndon Johnson. When a male member of the council insisted on having
that, she was ushered down the line.
Height was never one to be pushed aside. She pulled up a chair and
sat down on the other side of President Johnson. And because she
did, that day the whole world saw an African American woman seated
proudly next to the President of the United States. As they do today.
as House Democratic Leader, I often sit at that same table as the
only woman. I want to thank you for bringing our nation closer to
the ideal of equality that is both our heritage and our hope.
is a beacon to her own generation and generations to follow. Countless
young people have been inspired by her idealism, strengthened by
her courage, and guided by her faith. She has empowered these young
people to make a difference by her own passion for justice.
has said of her own youth, 'I may be 92, but it was what I did before
I was 19 that made the difference.' Imagine the bravery, the courage
of a young Dorothy Height, protesting the poll tax and the use of
your receiving this award not only brings prestige to you, but prestige
to the Congressional Gold Medal. Words are not powerful enough to
express our appreciation for your contributions to our democracy.
We can only try. Not as enough, but as a token of our appreciation,
we all thank you for your faith, your hope for a better future,
and your love of our country and the American people.
gates have indeed opened wider because of your leadership - and
we resolve today to carry on the work of your life.
you, Dorothy Height. God bless America."