Shirley Chisholm | Unbought and Unbossed | OneUnited Bank

In honor of Caribbean-American Heritage Month, let’s honor Shirley Chisholm (née St. Hill), daughter of Caribbean immigrants and the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress where she served for 7 terms and the first Black major-party candidate and first woman candidate for the Democratic Party to run for President. In 2015, Chisholm was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Chisholm was born in Brooklyn, New York on November 30, 1924 to immigrant parents. Her father, Charles Christopher St. Hill, was born in British Guiana and lived in Barbados. Her mother, Ruby Seale, was born in Christ Church, Barbados.

Chisholm attended Girls’ High School in Bedford–Stuyvesant and earned a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College in 1946, where she won prizes for her debating skills, and a master’s degree from Teachers College at Columbia University in 1952. In addition, she was a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority and the Harriet Tubman Society where she advocated for inclusion, specifically for integration of the military, the addition of courses on African American history, and the involvement of women in student government. Growing up, Chisholm was surrounded by politics as her father was an avid supporter of Marcus Garvey.

In 1968, Chisholm ran for U.S. Congress with a campaign slogan “Unbought and Unbossed”. She won by a 2 to 1 margin and became the first Black woman elected to Congress and the only woman in the freshman class of Congress that year. Throughout her seven terms in Congress, Chisholm worked to improve opportunities for urban residents. including spending increases for education, health care and other social services, and reductions in military spending.

Chisholm and her 1972 presidential campaign have been a major influence on other women of color in politics, including California Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and Kamala Harris, who launched her presidential campaign forty-seven years to the day after Chisholm’s presidential campaign. Chisholm died on January 1, 2005, at 80 years old, in Ormand Beach, Florida.

Famous quotes from Shirley Chisholm:
The next time a woman of whatever color, or a dark-skinned person of whatever sex aspires to be president, the way should be a little smoother because I helped pave it.
I am and always will be a catalyst for change.
Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.
The one thing you've got going: your one vote.
We must reject not only the stereotypes that others hold of us, but also the stereotypes that we hold of ourselves.
You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering, and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.
In the end anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing: anti-humanism.
When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.
Unless we start to fight and defeat the enemies in our own country, poverty and racism, and make our talk of equality and opportunity ring true, we are exposed in the eyes of the world as hypocrites when we talk about making people free.
I am not the candidate of Black America, although I am Black and proud; I am not the candidate of the women's movement of this country, although I am a woman and I am equally proud of that. I am the candidate of the people of America. And my presence before you now symbolize a new era in American political history.
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