Archive for the ‘Shirley Chisholm’ Category

Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005) was the first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives. She was elected in 1969 and represented the state of New York. She broke ground again four years later in 1972 when she was the first major party African-American candidate and the first female candidate for president of the United States.

During her first term in Congress, Chisholm hired an all-female staff and spoke out for civil rights, women’s rights, the poor and against the Vietnam War. She was a sought-after public speaker and cofounder of the National Organization for Women (NOW). She remarked that, “Women in this country must become revolutionaries. We must refuse to accept the old, the traditional roles and stereotypes.”

On January 25, 1972, Chisholm announced her candidacy for president. She stood before the cameras and in the beginning of her speech she said,

“I stand before you today as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency of the United States. I am not the candidate of black America, although I am black and proud. I am not the candidate of the women’s movement of this country, although I am a woman, and I am equally proud of that. I am not the candidate of any political bosses or special interests. I am the candidate of the people.”

The 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami was the first major convention in which any woman was considered for the presidential nomination. Although she did not win the nomination, she received 151 of the delegates’ votes. She continued to serve in the House of Representatives until 1983. “After leaving Congress in January 1983, Chisholm helped co-found the National Political Congress of Black Women and campaigned for Jesse Jackson’s presidential bids in 1984 and 1988. She also taught at Mt. Holyoke College in 1983. Though nominated as U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica by President William J. Clinton, Chisholm declined due to ill health. She settled in Palm Coast, Florida, where she wrote and lectured, and died on January 1, 2005, in Ormond Beach, Florida.”

For more information visit Shirley Chisholm’s biography via house.gov.