Before President Barack Obama there was Shirley Chisholm

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Shirley Chisholm: Politician, Educator and Author

Shirley Chisholm (November 30, 1924 – January 1, 2005) was born in Brooklyn, New York, and is of Caribbean decent. Her mother was from Christ Church, Barbados and her father was from British Guiana.

Chisholm is remembered for her noteworthy political career. She was the first African-American Congresswoman; the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination; and the first major-party black presidential candidate!

She is also one of the founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Political Career

Shirley-Chisholm-PoliticianIn 1964, Chisholm was elected to the New York State Legislature; four years later she was elected to the House of Representatives.

In the 1972 she made a bid for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. She campaigned in 12 states and won Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Jersey.

During the campaign, she survived three assassination attempts!

Sadly, she lost the primaries to George McGovern. In turn, George McGovern’s opponent Hubert H. Humphrey released his black delegates to Chisholm. This gave her a total of 152 first-ballot votes for the nomination and she became the first major-party black candidate for President of the United States!

Chisholm said she ran for the office “in spite of hopeless odds… to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo.”

Shirley Chisholm is truly a modern day, African-American shero.

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