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Shirley Chisholm: A True Trailblazer

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

By Journey Artis


Shirley Chisholm was born on November 30, 1924, in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents were immigrants. Chisholm was of Guyanese and Bujan descent. However, when Shirley turned five years old, she and her three sisters were sent to live with their maternal grandmother due to her mother struggling to work and raising kids and her father not finding sufficient work. From a young age, Chisholm has said that her grandmother taught her that she was someone, and the black revolution did not have to teach her that. She later went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree from Brooklyn College in 1946 and even won prizes for her debating skills. She was around advocacy for social justice all her life, so it is no surprise that she heavily advocated for inclusion, equality, and justice. In 1968 she was the first black woman to be elected to the US Congress. She represented New York’s 12th congressional district for seven terms, which were from 1969 to 1983. Additionally, she became the first African American candidate in a major party’s nomination for President of the U.S. Also, she was the first woman Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. She, however, lost the election. It is said that while she felt that she would not win the presidential election, she ran to win, but her main priority was showing African Americans and women that it was possible at a time when it was unheard of. Shirley Chisholm died on January 1, 2005, in Ormond Beach, Florida. Despite this, she left behind a legacy that will never die. Shirley Chisholm was unafraid to trailblaze for African Americans and Women alike and showed both marginalized groups that it was possible to be in a position of power. She was selfless enough to run a presidential campaign with the intent of winning but being more focused on demonstrating that someone other than white men could run for a position of power; that is something that should and will always be remembered. Shirley Chisholm was a quite remarkable individual and contributed greatly to the African American and Women Community.



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