By Amy Wadas

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RANKIN (KDKA) — A celebration of life was held Friday for civil rights pioneer Dorothy Height, a graduate of Rankin High School.

Known for her fancy hats and wearing the color purple, it was the third annual Dorothy Heights celebration held at Rankin Promise School.

Kids from grades K through 12 in the Woodland Hills School District were there to learn about a woman who left quite the impression.

dorothy height day Civil Rights Pioneer Dorothy Height Celebrated At Rankin Promise School

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Her nephew, Reverend Dan Aldridge, traveled to Pittsburgh from Detroit to join the celebration.

“She was just an extraordinary gift to the world in terms of both who she was and what she stood for,” Aldridge said.

Height was a 1929 graduate of Rankin High School. She was called the godmother of the civil rights movement by President Obama. She even met his wife, Michelle, and Hilary Clinton.

“We just feel the need to celebrate her because her mission was civil rights and women’s rights and what’s going on today in society and especially with our school district, we use her platform of hope,” Woodland Hills School District Assistant Superintendent Licia Lentz said.

dan aldridge dorothy height day Civil Rights Pioneer Dorothy Height Celebrated At Rankin Promise School

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald presented a proclamation to Aldridge and declared Friday, March 23, “Dorothy Height Day” in Allegheny County.

“We named a day after Dorothy Height and the great work she did and the great accomplishments and the pioneering and the struggles that she lead through very difficult times,” Fitzgerald said.

“Both she and mother loved kids, all children. They would’ve been knocked out about me being in Rankin. They loved Rankin. Rankin was part of their identity,” Aldridge said.