Shirley Chisholm


Shirley Chisholm was an American politician, educator and author. She was the first African American woman to run for President in either major political party. She was born in Brooklyn, NY; November 30, 1924. She first worked as a nursery school teacher. She was divorced from her husband Conrad Q Chisholm, a private investigator, in 1977. She attended Columbia University and earned her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education in 1951.

She became the second African American elected to the New York State legislature. A court order created a heavily democratic district in Chisholm’s neighborhood, which gave her the ability to speak about topics such as gender equality, poverty, and ending the Vietnam War. Chisholm won a seat in Congress which helped bring these issues to the forefront of American politics. Discrimination kept Chisholm doing what she believed to be right however this led to her being blocked from participating in primary debates on TV when she ran for the nomination of President of the United States. She was able to make one speech, entered 12 primaries, and garnered 10% of the total votes for the nomination.

Chisholm retired from Congress in 1983;  we have learned many lessons from her career. She began teaching at Mount Holy Oak College in Massachusetts,  and she cofounded the National Political Congress of Black Women. She declined the nomination to become U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica. She she did this because of health problems. Although she declined she made a huge impact impact in society by being politically active, running for congress, seeking the Presidential nomination, and teaching others what she had learned through her life experiences.