Incredible Woman: Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm’s story has been seen in the news recently because of the historic election of Kamala Harris to the position of VP.

Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman elected to the American Congress. She was also the first black woman to make a presidential bid for a major party.

You can hear Chisholm in this collection of archived episodes of David Frost’s show. She’s in the intro montage emphatically saying that there absolutely will be a woman president of the United States, and there is a great segment of her interview with Frost at around 28 minutes – depending on where you are listening. (This whole episode is really excellent – I recommend a listen!)

She was an educator and writer, and in my opinion, a really incredible orator. You can read the transcript of this speech here. Chisholm is credited with the often- quoted “if there isn’t a seat for you at the table, bring a folding chair”.

Chisholm’s life is fascinating – Stuff You Missed in History Class did a very good summary of her personal and professional life.

In the podcast, there is a short but interesting section regarding Gloria Steinem and her limp endorsement of Chisholm’s run for the presidency. What a situation to face where the practicality of getting votes means that the founder of the best known feminist magazine couldn’t really endorse you!

For a basic summary of Chisholm’s life and work, you can access the article about her on the National Women’s History Museum’s website.

Chisholm died in 2005, but her legacy of tenacity and fearless bravery in the face of rampant sexism and racism continues to inspire to this day.

An image of Shirley Chisholm. It is a black and white image, she wears a collared top with a block pattern and rimmed glasses.
Image from Wikipedia

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