Black Women in History posted by

Shirley Chisholm: First Black Woman to Run for President

(November 30, 1924 – January 1, 2005)

Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman to run for President. She was nominated for the presidency of the United States on July 13th, 1972.

When the congresswoman from New York launched her spirited campaign, she took on the political establishment. Chisholm said she ran for the office, despite the hopeless odds, to challenge the status quo.

In her announcement speech, Chisholm said: “I am not the candidate of black America, although I am black and proud. I am not the candidate of the women’s movement of this country, although I am a woman and I am equally proud of that. I am the candidate of the people, and my presence before you now symbolizes a new era in American political history.”

Chisholm lost the Democratic nomination to Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota.

Radio Diaries spoke with U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), who was a student on public assistance and a single mother when she first met Chisholm, and Robert Gottlieb, who worked on Chisholm’s 1972 campaign.

Says Lee: “Chisholm told me, no matter what I do in life, use your power judiciously, use it with humility, but use it.”


Bio Courtesy of: