Reagan is the pres but I voted for Shirley Chisholm
Biz Markie - Nobody beats the biz
I didn't know that much about Shirley Chisholm for years but I remembered her name from a friend of mine back in primary school who always used to speak very proudly about her family ties to Chisholm. (Sadly that friend also passed away last Christmas.) Then I heard that line above by Biz Markie back in the late 80s and followed the trail of crumbs that led me to realize that this lady had some remarkable achievements. Anyway I'll let this story speak for itself.
Political trailblazer Shirley Chisholm dies
'Unbought, Unbossed,' undaunted
BY TRACY CONNOR
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Shirley Chisholm in 1997 (below) and in 1972 (above) when she announced her candidacy for President.
Shirley Chisholm, the beloved political pioneer from Brooklyn who became the first black woman elected to Congress, died yesterday in Florida. She was 80.
Chisholm was best known for her historic 1972 run for President under the slogan "Unbought and Unbossed," her fiery oratory and her commitment to women, minorities and the disadvantaged.
"She was an activist, and she never stopped fighting," the Rev. Jesse Jackson said last night. "She refused to accept the ordinary."
Mayor Ed Koch, who served in the House of Representatives with Chisholm, called her a "wonderful woman with enormous courage" and uncompromising integrity.
"We all go, but it's wonderful when you can leave with a name that unblemished," Koch said.
Chisholm was born to West Indian immigrants on Nov. 30, 1924, in Brooklyn, but spent her early childhood with her grandmother in Barbados.
Rejoining her parents in New York, she threw her energies into education. She graduated from Brooklyn College, became a nursery-school teacher in Harlem and later earned a master's degree from Columbia University.
From an early age, she thought of herself as a "fighter" - a quality she shared with her three role models: her grandmother, Harriet Tubman and Eleanor Roosevelt.
"I met Mrs. Roosevelt when I was 14," she said in 2000. "I'll never forget what she said to me: You are black and you are a young woman, but don't let anybody stand in your way."
She took Mrs. Roosevelt's advice seriously, and parlayed her work as a grass-roots community organizer into a landslide victory for a New York State Assembly Seat in 1964.
Four years later, she made history when she won a seat in Congress, where she hired an all-female staff and championed issues such as federal funding for day care and opposition to the Vietnam War.
A gifted speaker, in her first remarks on the floor of the House in 1969 she vowed to vote "no" on any bill that included funds for the Defense Department.
"My greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear, is my mouth, out of which come all kinds of things one shouldn't always discuss for reasons of political expediency," she once said.
In 1972, Chisholm set her sights on the White House, making a bid for the Democratic nomination for President despite what she acknowledged were "hopeless odds."
"I ran because somebody had to do it first," she wrote in her 1973 book "The Good Fight."
She lost the nomination to George McGovern but got 151 delegate votes and returned to Congress with newfound prominence.
After she retired from government in 1982, she remained active in politics and the women's rights movement. A documentary about her presidential bid, "Chisholm '72," was released last year.
She was married twice - her second husband, Arthur Hardwick Jr., died in 1986 - but had no children.
In a book published last year, Chisholm said she hoped her legacy went beyond her race and gender.
"I want history to remember me not just as the first black woman to be elected to Congress, not as the first black woman to have made a bid for the presidency of the United States, but as a black woman who lived in the 20th century and dared to be herself," she said.
"I want to be remembered as a catalyst for change in America."
With Tamer El-Ghobashy
Originally published on January 3, 2005