*The funeral service for civil rights leader Dorothy Height just finished in Washington with the president, vice president and their wives in attendance, as well as members of congress and veterans of the civil rights movement.
In eulogizing the lifelong activist, President Obama noted Height’s quiet perseverance and said she led a life of “vision and class.”
“She never cared about who got the credit,” the president said. “What she cared about was the cause. The cause of justice, the cause of equality, the cause of opportunity, freedom’s cause.”
Hundreds of people stood in line for hours at the National Cathedral to get one of 700 tickets to the memorial – many sporting hats like Height used to wear.
Those hats were mentioned several times by speakers during the service, including President Obama. “We loved those hats she wore like a crown. Regal,” he stated.
Bill Cosby’s wife Camille also spoke, and Maya Angelou – in a wheelchair – read Dr. Height’s favorite psalm. Dr. Height’s 88-year-old nephew, representing over 50 members of her family, also addressed mourners, which included Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dick Gregory and Cicely Tyson.
Obama quipped, “When you have an 88-year-old nephew, you know you’ve lived a full life.”
His 13-minute tribute also recalled the doggedness and energy of Height, who led the National Council of Negro Women for decades and marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. She died last week at the age of 98.
Height visited the Obama White House 21 times, the president said. He noted that she was determined to attend a meeting of African American leaders on unemployment last winter despite an approaching blizzard and being confined to a wheelchair.
She wouldn’t allow “just a bunch of men” to control the meeting, Obama said. When Height’s attendance became impossible because cars could not reach her snow-choked driveway, he said, she still sent a message with her ideas.
Obama also cited her role in desegregating the YWCA and in leading the National Council of Negro Women with “vision and energy, vision and class.” He said her name should be associated with great leaders such as King and W.E.B. DuBois. “She too deserves a place in our history books,” Obama said. “She too deserves a place of honor in America’s memory.”
• Both CNN and MSNBC carried the president’s remarks in full, while Fox News stayed in regular “America’s Newsroom” programming. The funeral did receive a brief mention on FNC prior to the president speaking and was streamed live on FoxNews.com.
• C-Span 2 carried the entire funeral. Click here to watch the entire 1 hour 44 min broadcast.