Dorothy Irene Height, a pioneering voice of the civil rights movement whose activism stretched from the New Deal to the election of President Barack Obama, died Tuesday. She was 98.
Height, who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and led the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years, was known for her determination and grace - as well as her wry humor. She remained active and outspoken well into her 90s and often received rousing ovations at events around Washington, where she was easily recognizable in the bright, colorful hats she almost always wore.
Height died at Howard University Hospital, where she had been in serious condition for weeks.
In a statement, Obama called her "the godmother of the civil rights movement" and a hero to Americans.
"Dr. Height devoted her life to those struggling for equality ... and served as the only woman at the highest level of the civil rights movement - witnessing every march and milestone along the way," Obama said.