Warriors for equality

Two key warriors in the civil rights struggle died in recent days, renewing admiration for their courage and resilience on behalf of a cause as big as the nation.

Dorothy Height, who died Tuesday at 98, fought for equality on two fronts as longtime president of the National Council of Negro Women. She lobbied presidents and planned marches, pushing against gender bias wherever she saw it — including within the civil rights movement.

Benjamin Hooks, who died last week at 85, was a pastor, judge and member of the Federal Communications Commission and led the NAACP for 15 years, successfully pushing to establish Martin Luther King Jr. Day and make more progress on housing, voting, college admissions and more.

"If the times aren't ripe, you have to ripen the times," Height liked to say.

To their enduring credit, Height and Hooks not only ripened the times but changed them for good.

—For the editorial board, Rhonda Holman