Shirley Chisholm: Why she kicks ass
- She became the first black woman to serve in the United States Congress. A model of independence and honesty and championed for several issues including civil rights, aid for the poor, and women’s rights.
- In 1972 she ran for President of the United States, making her the black person to do so. Although she did not win the Democratic nomination, she gained an impressive 10% of the votes.
- Chisholm joined the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971 as one of its founding members. All those Chisholm hired for her office were women, half of them black. Chisholm said that during her New York legislative career, she had faced much more discrimination because she was a woman than because she was black.
- Chisholm said she ran for the office “in spite of hopeless odds… to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo.” Among the volunteers who were inspired by her campaign was Barbara Lee, who continued to be politically active and was elected as a congresswoman 25 years later.
- Chisholm worked on a bill to give domestic workers the right to a minimum wage, worked to improve opportunities for inner-city residents. She was a vocal opponent of the draft and supported spending increases for education, health care and other social services, and reductions in military spending.