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Women's History Month Feature: Shirley Chisholm - Unbought and Unbossed

The month of March signifies the beginning of Women’s history Month. In honor of this occasion, we will be featuring an outstanding woman from history, highlighting the amazing accomplishments of women in our nation’s storied past.

Our first installment features Shirley Chisholm, the first African American women to serve in Congress and the first African American woman to run for president. Representative Chisholm was born in Brooklyn in 1924 to immigrant parents, eventually graduating cum laude from Brooklyn College in 1946. She earned her master’s degree in early childhood education from Columbia University after working as a nursery schoolteacher.

Rep. Chisholm was always an activist, volunteering with the NAACP, the League of Women Voters and the Democratic Party in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Eventually, she became only the second African American woman to serve in the NY State Legislature, and soon after was elected to Congress as the first African American woman to hold a seat in our nation’s history.

Known as “Fighting Shirley, Rep. Chisholm was a champion for racial and gender equality, founding the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971 and becoming the first African-American woman to serve on the powerful House Rules Committee in 1977.

In 1972, Rep. Chisholm became the first African American woman to seek their party’s nomination for president (she was also the first woman to seek the Democratic party’s nomination). She faced significant discrimination during her campaign, which she attributed largely to being a woman. Despite all odds, she garnered 10% of the delegates at the Democratic Convention.

Shirley Chisholm was a trailblazer for African American women in politics for years to come. Today, women hold positions of power throughout our government institutions, including an African American woman serving as vice-president. We are proud to feature Rep. Chisholm as part of Women’s History month and encourage everyone to read more about her story and other trailblazing women.

 

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