Interior Leaders Honor Dorothy Height's Legacy in the Parks

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, and Senior Advisor to the Secretary Robert G. Stanton today issued a joint statement on the contributions Dorothy I. Height made to the national parks,. as preparations are made for her funeral services next week.*

“Dr. Height's struggle for equality, dignity and justice for all people has enriched and strengthened our nation,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “We remember Dr. Height as the president of the National Council of Negro Women and as the great civil rights leader that she was, but we should also remember her extraordinary contributions to our national parks, the National Mall, and to the telling of the story of the civil rights movement. Dr. Height left a remarkable legacy of which we are all beneficiaries.”

“Dr. Height was an outstanding supporter of a wide range of National Park Service and Department of the Interior programs,” said Director Jon Jarvis. “As a leader in the civil rights movement, she helped bend the arc of American history toward justice and equality, but she also played an important role in preserving that history for the benefit of all Americans.”

“I was honored and privileged to know and work with Dr. Height for some 40 years,” said Senior Advisor Stanton, who served as Director of the National Park Service during the Clinton Administration. “Our association included educational programs and preservation of the Mary McLeod Bethune National Memorial and the Bethune Council House National Historic Site—areas under the jurisdiction of the Park Service here in Washington, D.C. We also worked closely in the inauguration of the Annual Black Family Reunion on the National Mall.”

Before Mr. Stanton served as NPS Director, Dr. Height awarded him the highest honor of the National Council of Negro Women for his work as director and deputy director of the National Capital Region of the Park Service, crediting his work with her “to establish the first memorial to an African American or to a woman of any race on public land in our nation's capital”—the Bethune Memorial. The National Council of Negro Women grew out of the vision of Dr. Bethune.

“Always at the top of Dr. Height's priorities, in the tradition of Dr. Bethune, was the support and involvement of our youth throughout the breath of the organization and programs of the National Council of Negro Women,” Stanton notes. “Most certainly, we as a people, as a community, and as a nation will be forever indebted to her for enriching our lives and for her many contributions and work in building a better world.”

*Note to Media: Dr. Height passed away on April 20 at the age of 98. Her funeral will be held at the National Cathedral on April 29. In addition, her body will lie in repose Tuesday, April 27, at the National Council of Negro Women's Dorothy I. Height building for a public viewing. Both events are open to the public. For more information on these and other Height memorial events, please contact Flo McAfee, NCNW, at 202.486.3673

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