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Open Wide The Freedom Gates: A Memoir

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  112 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Dorothy Height marched at civil rights rallies, sat through tense White House meetings, and witnessed every major victory in the struggle for racial equality. Yet as the sole woman among powerful, charismatic men, someone whose personal ambition was secondary to her passion for her cause, she has received little mainstream recognition--until now. In her memoir, Dr. Height, ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published January 26th 2005 by PublicAffairs (first published June 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Robert
A real eye-opener, and an inspiration.

But first an admission: When Dorothy Height died recently, I, in my arrogance, was surprised and a little irritated that I hadn't heard of her before.

I went to a grade school that emerged out of the Civil Rights Movement, and tend to have at least some recognition of names from the movement. If you mention Stokely Carmichael, I'll nod. A. Philip Randolph? Sure. John Lewis? Why do you even ask? But I drew a complete blank on Dorothy Height, and was impressed
...more
Jennifer Swapp
This was an interesting history not only of Dorothy Height, but an introduction to many of the important civil rights players pre, during and post civil rights era. On of the most interesting ideas proposed by Dorothy Height was her explanation of why African American's have traditionally been strong supporters of federal government power. She says, "There is a good reason why protection promised by federal laws based on democratic principles has always meant more to black people than to whites: ...more
Tiffany
May 10, 2010 Tiffany rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tiffany by: Cynthia
I think my recent fascination with this amazing woman and her amazing journey as well as her recent passing upgraded this book from 3 to 4 stars. It was very interesting to read about all that she was involved in during the Civil Rights movement and beyond, but there were so many organizations and committess named, it made my head spin. I just wish she had added a little more personal detail. On the one hand, with all of her involvement I don't see where she would have had time for a personal li ...more
Laura
Dr. Height was a very amazing woman, one who saw clearly the challenges and problems of racism, and the hurt and harm that it has done (and continues to do) to African-Americans, while at the same time retaining an optimistic outlook, a belief in the power of action, of being able to make change happen even in the face of seemingly implacable challenges of institutional racism that remain after a life of hard work.

She was also a very singular person. I suspect very few people have her capacity f
...more
Kristy Lee
An interesting book about Miss Height's civil rights work. Many do not even know who she is, and how powerful she was. I was a bit disappointed that she did not include more about her personal life (family, friends, what she liked ect). It read more like a timeline of all the great things she did.
Carole
Sep 27, 2009 Carole added it
I'm reading this because it was quoted in Cokie Roberts "We Are Our Mothers' Daughters" which I can't find in the database. Anyway, I have just finished that book which was an interesting mix of semi-biographical & women's history. Cokie Roberts writes affectionately about her family members, especially her mother, aunt & cousins as well as daughter & daughter-in-law & with admiration for all the women who went before & broke down barriers. One of them was Dorothy Height, a b ...more
Maureen
Jun 04, 2008 Maureen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Maureen by: UMW
Dorothy Height wrote not just a chronicle of the civil rights era, but a new American history book. Her fight has been for equality for people of color, and women as well. She is a gifted storyteller, who has been everywhere from Harlem to the White House, and has met the major cultural movers and shakers of about fifty years of this country's past. One thing I enjoy about Ms. Height is that fact that whenever she met someone, whether it was a sharecropper or a President, she interacted with the ...more
Aimee Mchale
This is an important memoir. I had no idea who Dorothy Height was when I heard her discussing this memoir on Diane Rehm's NPR show. Her deep resonant voice drew me in and I read the book ---- and discovered the amazing life of a woman who had played such an important but largely unrecognized role in the 20th century history of the U.S, particularly the Civil Rights Movement. What a strong and amazing woman, and how glad I am that I picked up this book.
Meredith
I picked this up by chance and feel embarrassed that I didn't know more about this extraordinary woman before now. Dorothy Height was a mover and shaker in her own right, with many recognizable faces nearby. Her memoir details a life dedicated to serving the needs of others around the globe. This is great for anyone interested in social justice.
Patricia
What an incredible account of the history that our history books did not tell us. The close relationship between Ms. Mary McLeod Bethune and Ms. Eleonor Roosevelt among others. Dorothy I. Height's biography is inspiring and intriguing as she recounts her tireless work to improve the lives of all Americans especially African American Women. Merci Ms. Height.
Laura
Felt like reading some inspirational autobiography and this fit the bill nicely. Height gets a bit bogged down in describing all of the committees she worked with and giving shoutouts to her fellow organizers, but the sections on her work in Harlem in the 40s and the civil rights movement in the 60s are fascinating and inspiring.
Veronica
Such an informative and exciting book written by Dr. Height. This book puts the reader in touch with with American civil rights and human rights history. She knows, she was there, from her relationship with First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt to President Barack Obama. I've read it more than once.
Rhoda
One of the many women that I admire. This book outlines all of her achievements and the contributions to society. What a role model. Another one of my autographed books. She was phenominal. I'm glad I met her and Barak Obama when i did.
Ava
Apr 24, 2007 Ava rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history or civil rights buffs
This book was a simplistic account of a remarkable woman. I learned so much about actual events during the civil rights movement. It was really inspiring.
Mona Ohana
The matriarch of civil rights, in her own words. Dr. Height is a heroine. Required reading alongside Dr. King.
Fran Landers
The civil rights movement from the inside; the important role of black women.
Judy
Jan 30, 2012 Judy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: memoir
An incredible life, though just a so-so book. Still VERY worth a read!!
Kishanna Laurie
I actually have a signed copy, how wonderful is that.
Linda Robinson
Thoughtful, measured, profound.
Teira
very good book
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Dorothy Irene Height was an African American administrator, educator, and social activist. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.
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