Black News and News Makers in History: Shirley Chisholm

Black News and News Makers in History recognizes Shirley Chisholm this week in Black history.Shirley Chisholm, teacher, administrator and politician, the first black woman elected to Congress.

Shirley Chisholm was born Shirley Anita St. Hill on November 30, 1924 in Brooklyn, NY.

As a young girl, she lived with her grandparents in Barbados, returning to New York and graduating from Brooklyn College with a B.A. in Sociology.

In 1952, she received her M.A. from Columbia University, soon beginning a career as a nursery school teacher and director.

In 1964, Shirley Chisholm was elected to the state assembly and four years later, 1968, she was elected to Congress, representing New York's Twelfth District.

An outspoken opponent of the congressional seniority system, Chisholm was assigned to the committee on Agriculture and Forestry Subcommittee. She protested this as inappropriate for the representative of an inner city district and was transferred to the Veterans Affairs Committee. Among her efforts during her career, Chisholm called for an end to British arms sales to South Africa and proposed funding to extend the hours of child care facilities to include working mothers of middle and low income families.

In 1972, Shirley Chisholm ran for President as a Democrat, receiving 152 first ballot votes at the convention. She also took on the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations over cuts in federal spending, minimum wage, fair housing and education grants. Chisholm declined to run for reelection in 1982, citing the growing conservative political atmosphere and her desire to return to private life. Shirley Chisholm died on New Years Day, 2005.


  • "When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses."
  • "The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: "It's a girl."
  • "You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas."
  • "I am and always will be a catalyst for change."

Compiled from various Internet resources.