On Young People and Change
Shirley Chisholm at the
National Womens Hall of Fame (a quick list of all inductees
Equal Rights Amendment Speech, 1970
Unbought and Unbossed, PBS documentary
Shirley Chisholm Speech for the Democratic Presidential Nomination
(real player, The History Channel)
Say It Plain: Live Recordings of the 20th Century's Great
African-American Speeches (CD and book)
Shirley Chisholm 1924-2005
don't measure America by its achievement but by its
Legacy of Courage and Compassion: Equal Rights Champion,
Defender of the Poor
Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm, "unbought and
unbossed", was an American politician, educator, and
author. She was a Congresswoman representing New York's
12th District from 1969-1983. In 1968, she became the
first African-American woman elected to Congress.
She ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in
1972, garnering 152 delegates.
In 1964, Chisholm ran and was elected to the New York
State Legislature. She then ran as the Democratic
candidate for New York's 12th District congressional
seat and was elected to the
House of Representatives in 1968. She defeated
Republican candidate James Farmer, to become the first
African-American woman elected to Congress.
Congressional Black Caucus in 1969 as one of its
founding members. In 1972, Chisholm made a bid for the
Democratic Party's presidential nomination, and received
152 delegate votes, but ultimately lost the nomination
to South Dakota Senator George McGovern. Chisholm's base
of support was ethnically diverse and included the
National Organization for Women. Among the
volunteers who were inspired by her campaign was
Barbara Lee, who would go on to become a
congresswoman some 25 years later. Chisholm said she ran
for the office "in spite of hopeless odds," "to
demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the
In 1972, the
Equal Rights Amendment was again introduced (as it
was every year since 1848). Shirley Chisholm was a
vocal supporter of equal rights for women. The
amendment was finally approved by Congress and presented
to the states for ratification. The initial pace of
ratifications was rapid, but later slowed. Congress had
set a seven-year time limit for ratification, and by the
end of that deadline in 1979 only 35 of the 38 required
states had ratified. In fact, five of those approving
states actually later rescinded their ratifications of
Chisholm created controversy when she visited rival
and ideological opposite George Wallace in the hospital
soon after his shooting during the 1972 presidential
campaign. Several years later, when Chisholm worked on a
bill to give domestic workers the right to a minimum
wage, Wallace got her the votes of enough southern
congressmen to push the legislation through the House.
Throughout her tenure in Congress, Chisholm would work
to improve opportunities for
inner-city residents. She was a vocal opponent of
draft and supported spending increases for
education, healthcare and other social services.
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"In the end antiblack,
antifemale, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent
to the same thing - antihumanism."
comes up against profit, it is seldom profit that loses."
"Service is the rent
we pay for the privilege of living on this earth."
"Congress seems drugged and inert most of the
time... its idea of meeting a problem is to hold hearings
or, in extreme cases, to appoint a commission."
"Tremendous amounts of talent are lost to our
society just because that talent wears a skirt."
"We've got to come
together in order to make the republic work for everyone,
regardless of race, creed, or color."
"...my belief that the
basic design of this country is right. What is essential is
to make it work, not to sweep it away and substitute — what?
Something far worse, perhaps."