Height’s peers mourn loss of ‘national treasure’

WASHINGTON — In one of her last public appearances, Dorothy Height took center stage with other civil rights activists and community leaders and urged people of color to turn in their census forms.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said Height’s contributions serve as an inspiration. “She was not afraid to tackle the biggest, most looming issues of her day,’’ Thompson said.

In an interview last year with Gannett Washington Bureau, Height said one of her most memorable moments was in 1939 when Marian Anderson, who was not allowed to sing at Constitution Hall because she was black, took the stage outside of the Lincoln Memorial — later the site of the March on Washington.

“It was a tremendous moment because it represented so much,’’ said Height. “But I’ll never forget the first words that she sang were, ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee’ and the whole crowd burst into applause. I thought that was a great moment. I thought the March on Washington was a great moment and I’m looking forward to even greater moments.’’