SHIRLEY CHISHOLM Biography - Polititians


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Name: Shirley Chisholm                                                               
Born: 30 November 1924 Brooklyn, New York                                           
Died: 1 January 2005 Florida                                                         
Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm (November 30, 1924 - January 1, 2005) was an         
American politician, educator and author. She was a Congresswoman,                   
representing New York's 12th District for seven terms from 1968 to 1983. In 1968,   
she became the first African American woman elected to Congress. On January 23,     
1972, she became the first major party African American candidate for President     
of the United States. She won 152 delegates. Other women who ran for                 
President of the United States in 1972 include Linda Jenness and Evelyn Reed.       
Shirley Anita St. Hill was born in Brooklyn in 1924 of immigrant parents. Her       
father was born in British Guiana and her mother was Ruby Seale of Barbados. At     
age three, Shirley was sent to Barbados to live with her grandmother, and did       
not return to the U.S. for seven years. In her 1970 autobiography Unbought and       
Unbossed, she wrote: Years later I would know what an important gift my             
parents had given me by seeing to it that I had my early education in the strict,   
traditional, British-style schools of Barbados. If I speak and write easily now,     
that early education is the main reason.                                             
She had a degree in elementary education from Teachers College, Columbia             
University. From 1953 to 1959, she was director of the Hamilton-Madison Child       
Care Center, and from 1959 to 1964, was an educational consultant for the           
Division of Day Care.                                                               
Chisholm was married to Conrad Chisholm from 1949 to 1977. Upon their divorce,       
she married Arthur Hardwick, Jr., who died in 1986.                                 
Shirley Chisholm was a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In 1993, she       
was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. Chisholm also authored two     
books, Unbought and Unbossed (1970) and The Good Fight (1973).                       
In 1964, Chisholm ran for and was elected to the New York State Legislature. She     
then ran as the Democratic candidate for New York's 12th District congressional     
seat and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1968, defeating             
Republican candidate James Farmer and becoming the first African-American woman     
elected to Congress.                                                                 
As a freshman, Chisholm was assigned to the House Agricultural Committee. Given     
her urban district, she felt the placement was a waste of time and shocked many     
by demanding reassignment. She was then placed on the Veterans' Affairs             
Committee. Soon after, she voted for Hale Boggs as House Majority Leader over       
John Conyers. As a reward for her support, Boggs assigned her to the much-prized     
Education and Labor Committee; she was the third-highest ranking member when she     
Chisholm joined the Congressional Black Caucus in 1969, as one of its founding       
members. In 1972, she made a bid for the Democratic Party's presidential             
nomination, receiving 152 delegate votes, but ultimately losing                     
the nomination to South Dakota Senator George McGovern. Chisholm's base of           
support was ethnically diverse and included the National Organization for Women.     
Among the volunteers who were inspired by her campaign was Barbara Lee, who         
would go on to become a congresswoman some 25 years later. (Currently, Barbara       
Lee has a couple of pieces of legislation that would honor Shirley Chisholm,         
including H Con Res 9, calling on the US Postal Service to create a stamp           
honoring her, and HR 176, which would create a program to encourage educational     
exchanges between the US and Caribbean nations.) Chisholm said she ran for the       
"in spite of hopeless odds, . . . to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to       
accept the status quo."                                                             
Chisholm created controversy when she visited rival and ideological opposite         
George Wallace in the hospital soon after his shooting in May 1972, during the       
1972 presidential primary campaign. Several years later, when Chisholm worked on     
a bill to give domestic workers the right to a minimum wage, Wallace got her the     
votes of enough southern congressmen to push the legislation through the House.     
Throughout her tenure in Congress, Chisholm would work to improve opportunities     
for inner-city residents. She was a vocal opponent of the draft and supported       
spending increases for education, healthcare and other social services, and         
reductions in military spending. She announced her retirement from Congress in       
1982, and was replaced by a fellow Democrat, Major Owens, in 1983. After leaving     
Congress, Chisholm was named to the Purington Chair at Mount Holyoke College in     
South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she taught for four years. She was also very     
popular on the lecture circuit.                                                     
Chisholm retired to Florida and died on January 1, 2005. She is buried in Forest     
Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo.