Shirley Chisholm: Meet The Black Woman Who Ran for President

Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-N.Y.), poses on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, March 26, 1969 with material she plans to use in a speech before House colleagues. (AP Photo/Charles Gorry)

Born in 1924 in Brooklyn, NY. Chisholm was the eldest of four daughters of parents who were immigrants from Barbados. She took education seriously, obtaining her B.A. degree in 1946 and in 1952 she got her M.A. degree from Columbia University. While attending school she was also a nursery school teacher, director of a childcare center and an educational consultant with the city’s childcare department.

In 1964, she embarked on her political career as a member of the New York state legislature as an assemblyperson. After four years there, she was elected on the democratic ticket to serve in the U.S. Congress making her the first black women elected to such a seat. During her time in Congress, Chisholm worked to improve the conditions in the inner city. She was a vocal opponent of the draft and supported spending increases for education, health care, and other social services. Chisholm also played a critical role in the creation of the Special Supplement Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

In 1972, Chisholm made history again by becoming the first black person to seek a major party nomination for the U.S. presidency when she ran for the Democratic party nomination. Shirley Chisholm’s life and career serve as a model of possibility for any young person that wants to be involved with politics. You can still be honest and integral while doing what’s best for the people you represent.












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