Photo credits: Charles Gorry | Credit: AP
On this exact day forty-eight years ago, Black American history was made by a woman who will forever be known as a trailblazer that paved the way for her race and gender in politics.
By the time the Democratic National Convention went down on July 13, 1972, Shirley Chisholm (pictured) gained votes in 14 different states to become America’s first woman and Black person to campaign as a Democratic Nominee hopeful for the U.S. presidency. Democrats held the historic 1972 convention in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Though she did not win her party’s nomination, Chisholm bolted ahead on the campaign trail in the same manner she branded the title of her legendary book: Unbossed and Unbought. Chisholm formally announced her ground-breaking candidacy on January 25, 1972. During the speech Chisholm gave to announce her presidential bid, she described her move as a conduit for a “bloodless revolution.”
“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 equally proud of that. I am the candidate of the people and my presence before you symbolizes a new era in American political history,” Chisholm said, according to the Equality Archive.
However, this was not the only time Chisholm made her mark as an illustrious first in American politics on the national level. In 1968, she became the first Black woman ever to be elected to the U.S. Congress. Chisholm was a U.S. House Representative who won the seat of New York state’s 12 Congressional district, which includes her hometown of Brooklyn, New York.
In 1969, Chisholm was sworn in and went on to be successfully re-elected to seven consecutive Congressional terms (1969-1983). She was also a consummate educator prior to entering the political arena. Chisholm received her B.A. from Brooklyn College and her M.A. from Columbia University. She passed away at the age of 80 in 2005.
In 2015, Chisholm was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was long overdue. She said the following remarks regarding her phenomenal legacy, according to kentakepage.com:
“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.”