Shirley Chisholm: born Shirley Anita St. Hill, November 30, 1924, in Brooklyn, Kings County, N.Y.; elementary schooling in Barbados (her mother's country of origin) and the New York City public schools; B.A. from Brooklyn College (1946) and M.A. from Columbia University in (1952); 1949, married Conrad Chisholm (divorced 1977); held several positions in early childhood education, including in the Division of Day Care, New York City, 1959-1964; elected to New York State Assembly, 1964-1968.
In 1969, she was the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress and was re-elected six times until she retired from political office in 1983. During her first term in Congress, she hired an all-female staff. In Congress, she spoke out for civil rights and women's rights, advocated for the poor and opposed the Vietnam War. She ran for the Democratic Nomination for President in 1972.
She was active in the NAACP and co-founder of Unity Democratic Club in Brooklyn (instrumental in mobilizing black and Hispanic voters), the National Women's Political Caucus, the National Political Congress of Black Women and one of the early members of the National Organization for Women. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993.
Chisholm wrote the autobiographical works Unbought and Unbossed (1970) and The Good Fight (1973).
Shirley Chisholm died in Florida at the age of 80 on January 1, 2005. Learn more about her death, and comment on her legacy in the Film Update.
For more information on others who appear in Chisholm '72, visit chisholm72.net.
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Sources: bioguide.congress.gov; Encyclopedia Britannica