Shirley Chisholm

Political Figure

Born: 30 November 1924
Died: 1 January 2005
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Best known as: The first African-American woman to run for U.S. president

Name at birth: Shirley Anita St. Hill

Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress. She served seven terms as a representative from New York's 12th district, from 1969 until her retirement in 1982. Chisholm grew up in Barbados and also in New York City, where she earned a graduate degree from Columbia University in 1952. She taught school before entering the New York state assembly in 1964 and then easily winning election to Congress in 1968. She ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 1972, becoming the first African-American woman to run for the office. An opponent of the Vietnam War and a proponent of education and child welfare, she received about 5% of the vote at the party's national convention. (She lost the nomination to George McGovern, who was defeated by Republican incumbent Richard Nixon in the general election.) Chisholm wrote the memoirs Unbossed and Unbought (1970) and The Good Fight (1973).

Extra credit: Chisholm earned a B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1946, and a master's degree in elementary education from Columbia University in 1952... Chisholm was married twice: to Conrad O. Chisholm, from 1949 until their divorce in 1977, and to Buffalo businessman Arthur Hardwick from 1977 until his death in 1986... Chisholm had no children.

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