Obama on Height: 'A place of honor in American memory'

The President Obama called on Americans to pray for and remember Dorothy Height and "the Union she made more perfect."

"She too deserves a place of honor in American memory," Obama said of the civil rights leader who died last week at age 98. The president delivered one of the eulogies during Height's funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington.

Height's many works -- de-segregating the YWCA, leading the National Council of Negro Women, often the only woman in the room during civil rights meetings -- puts her in the pantheon of American leaders, the president said, from Mary McLeod Bethune to Martin Luther King, Jr.

The steady work of Height and others "ultimately made it possible for Michelle and me to be here as president and first lady," Obama added. Quite a life for an African-American woman "raised in another age, in a different America," Obama said. "Jim Crow ruled the South -- The Klan was on the rise."

Yet for nearly ten decades, Height pursued "a life that lifted other lives," Obama said. He also joked, "when you have a nephew who's 88, you've lived a full life."

Height worked right up to the end, and was not the type of person who settled for just one visit to the office of the nation's first African-American president. "Twenty-one times, she stopped by the White House," said Obama, who has been president less than 16 months.

Height was an early backer of the Obama presidential campaign, and the Obamas got to know her well. "We came to love her as so many loved her," Height said. "We loved those hats that she wore like a crown."

It added up to an "unambiguous record of righteous work," Obama said, from one more interested in promoting causes than taking credit.

"The cause of justice, the cause of equality, the cause of opportunity," Obama said. "Freedom's cause."


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