Shirley Chisholm


Feb. 24, 2005, midnight | By Zahra Gordon | 15 years, 6 months ago


Photo: Shirley Chisholm, candidate for the 1972 Democratic Presidential Nomination.

Legendary politician Shirley Chisholm died on Jan. 1, 2005 at the age of 80, but her spirit lives on. She was the first black woman elected to Congress and worked endlessly for the rights of women and minorities.

Chisholm was born on Nov. 30, 1924 in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents were from the West Indies, and they sent Chisholm to Barbados to complete her elementary education. She finished high school in New York and then attended Brooklyn College, where she received a B.A. in sociology in 1946. After graduation, Chisholm began teaching at a nursery school in Harlem while attending evening schools to earn her Master's Degree in child education from Columbia University. Chisholm then became an educational consultant until 1964, when she elected to the New York State Legislature. While holding the position of assemblyperson, Chisholm was a key innovator in the SEEK program, which gives college funding to under-privileged youth.

In 1968, Chisholm became the first black woman elected to Congress and four years later, launched her campaign for the presidency, becoming the first black woman to do so. She retired from Congress in 1982 but remained politically active.

In addition, she was an active member of the NAACP and the National Urban League, wrote two books, "Unbought and Unbossed" and "The Good Fight," and was the co-founder of the Unity Democratic Club, the National Women's Political Caucus and the National Political Congress of Black Women. Chisholm was also on the Advisory Council of the National Organization for Women and taught at many universities. She was especially influential during the presidential campaign of Jesse Jackson in the 1980s. Chisholm was inducted to the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993.



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Zahra Gordon. Zahra Gordon is 16-year old JUNIOR at Blair who is overwhelmingly proud of being from the Caribbean twin-island nation of Trinidad & Tobago (and she never fails to mention that). She has been living in Maryland for four years. If you're ever trying to find … More »

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