Civil Rights Icon Dorothy Height Dies; Former Lehman CEO to Face Questions
Dorothy Height attends a 2006 congressional hearing about voting rights in the District of Columbia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.)
The civil rights movement lost its founding matriarch early Tuesday morning. Dorothy I. Height, who fought for most of her life on behalf of women and blacks, died at the age of 98.
Height was president of the National Council of Negro Women for more than 40 years, advising presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to Bill Clinton on both civil and gender rights. She helped advance landmark legislation on school desegregation, voting rights and equality in the workplace.
Born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1912, Height first joined the civil rights movement as a teenager, marching in New York’s Times Square against lynching. In the 1950s and 1960s she helped bring the movement to the national forefront. In 1963, she was the only woman on the speaker’s platform when King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial.
In 1994, Bill Clinton awarded Height with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Ten years later, she was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal.
During a 2003 interview with the NewsHour, Height told Gwen Ifill: “I’m always an optimist because I have an abiding faith. And I believe that somehow or other the right will prevail and we have to keep working, I think justice is not an impossibility. I think we can achieve it …But every battle seems to have to be hard fought and hard and we have to work at it. And that’s why I think that we worked with the faith that we can bring about change.”
We’ll have more about Height on Tuesday’s program. Below are some videos of Height speaking about her life, the civil rights movement and receiving the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.
Former Lehman CEO to Face Questions
Richard Fuld, the former chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers, makes his way to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for an appearance before the House Committee on Financial Services. Expect Fuld to face tough questions in the wake of a scathing report by a court-appointed examiner last month detailing the firm’s collapse and the accounting gimmick — known as “Repo 105″ — that helped lead to the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.
In prepared remarks, Fuld defends Lehman, insisting: “I have absolutely no recollection whatsoever of hearing anything about Repo 105 transactions while I was CEO of Lehman. Nor do I have any recollection of seeing documents that related to Repo 105 transactions.”
Moreover, officials from both the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Reserve “were privy to everything as it was happening,” according to Fuld.
Given its failure to anticipate Lehman’s collapse, the SEC will likely come under criticism at Tuesday’s hearings as well. In his prepared remarks, Anton R. Valukas, the court-appointed examiner who authored the Lehman post-mortem, blasts the agency for not catching the firm’s use of Repo 105.
“I saw nothing in my investigation to suggest that the SEC asked even the most fundamental questions that might have uncovered this practice early on, before Lehman escalated it to a $50 billion issue,” Valukas said.
As SEC officials brace for Tuesday’s hearing, the agency is also pressing ahead with its civil case against Goldman Sachs. Yet, according to the Wall Street Journal, the agency has decided to sue Goldman “over the objections of two Republican commissioners, suggesting an unusual split at the agency that could politicize one of its most prominent cases in years.”
Bloomberg News says: “The stakes for the SEC are high. While winning high-profile cases may help the agency restore its image after being battered by the financial crisis and its failure to detect frauds including Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, losing may tarnish the SEC’s reputation.”
Despite its legal troubles, Goldman topped the expectations of most analysts on Tuesday, posting a first quarter profit of $3.46 billion, a 91 percent increase over the same period last year.
European Flights Resume Limited Schedule
â€ªSix days after ash from an erupting volcano in Iceland shut down much of the airspace across Europe, flights are beginning to resume, albeit on a limited schedule. Eurocontrol, the continent’s main aviation agency, said it expects about half of the roughly 28,000 flights that occur on a typical day in Europe will return to the skies Tuesday. â€¬
â€ªHowever, just as airports are beginning to reopen, a new plume of ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano threatened to ground even more flights in the coming days. Airspace across much of Britain remains closed due to the new ash cloud. The country’s air traffic control agency called the situation “dynamic” and said it would make an announcement this afternoon on whether airports will be reopened.â€¬