Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress, was a passionate and effective advocate for the needs of minorities, women and children. Chisholm changed the nation’s perception about the capabilities of women and Black Americans.

A New York City educator and child care manager, Chisholm saw the problems of the poor every day, and in the 1950s this led her to run for and win a seat in the New York State Legislature. In 1968, she was elected to Congress from the new 12th District. There she supported improved employment and education programs, expansion of day care, income support and other programs to improve inner city life and opportunity. She advocated for the end of the military draft and reduced defense spending. In 1970, she published her first book, Unbossed and Unbought. She served in Congress until 1982 and in 1972 entered several Democratic presidential primaries, receiving 151 delegate votes for the presidential nomination. Her second book, The Good Fight, was published in 1973.

She continued to be recognized for her legislative prowess in those years, when powerful committee assignments were not available to women and persons of color. Her legacy is alive at the Shirley Chisholm Center for Research on Women at Brooklyn College.

Year Honored: 1993
Birth: 1924 - 2005
Born In: New York
Achievements: Government
Worked In: District of Columbia, New York, United States of America
Educated In: New York, United States of America
Schools Attended: Brooklyn College, Columbia University