U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm


Shirley Chisholm

U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm, was the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress and the first major-party African American candidate for president. Born to immigrant parents from Guyana and Barbados on November 30, 1924, she distinguished herself early as a dedicated student and skilled debater. She graduated from Brooklyn College in 1946 and later earned a master’s degree in elementary education from Columbia University. After working as an educator, Chisholm launched her political career, winning a seat in the New York State Assembly in 1965. In 1968, she was elected to Congress, where she served seven terms. In 1972, she waged her historic campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, a quest chronicled in the award-winning 2005 documentary Shirley Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed, directed and produced by African-American filmmaker Shola Lynch. Chisholm died on January 1, 2005.