Shirley Chisholm, First Black Congresswoman

Shirley Chisholm, First Black Congresswoman

Shirley said “Of my two handicaps, being female put many more obstacles in my path than being black.”

Born in New York City in 1924, Shirley Chisholm became the first black congresswoman and for seven terms represented New York State in the House. She ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 1972. Throughout her political career Chisholm fought for education opportunities and social justice. She left congress in 1983 to teach and lecture. She died in 2005.

US representative and social activist. Born Shirley St. Hill on November 30, 1924 in New York City. Chisholm spent part of her childhood in Barbados with her grandmother and graduated from Brooklyn College in 1946. She began her career as a teacher and earned a Master’s degree in elementary education from Columbia University. She served as director of the Hamilton-Madison Child Care Center from 1953 to 1959 as an educational consultant to New York City’s Bureau of Child Welfare from 1959 to 1964.

In 1969, Chisholm became the first black congresswoman and began the first of seven terms. After initially being assigned to the House Forestry Committee, she shocked many by demanding reassignment. She was placed on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, eventually graduating to the Education and Labor Committee. She became one of the founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1969.

Chisholm became the first African American woman to make a bid to be President of the United States when she ran for the Democratic nomination in 1972. A champion of minority education and employment opportunities throughout her tenure in Congress, Chisholm was also a vocal opponent of the draft. After leaving Congress in 1983, she taught at Mount Holyoke College and was popular on the lecture circuit.

Chisholm was married to Conrad Chisholm from 1949 to 1977. She wed Arthur Hardwick, Jr. in 1986. She is the author of two books, Unbought and Unbossed (1970) and The Good Fight (1973).

“Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.” – Shirley Chisholm

You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas. – Shirley Chisholm

I don’t measure America by its achievement but by its potential. – Shirley Chisholm

Her campaign slogan was “Fighting Shirley Chisholm—Unbought and Unbossed.”

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