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Shirley Chisholm: An Unbought and Unbossed Trailblazer for Equality

Shirley Chisholm presidential candidate poster

Shirley Chisholm was a trailblazer in politics, who embodied tenacity, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to justice. 

Born in Brooklyn, New York to immigrant parents, she dreamed of and worked toward the pursuit of equality and justice. Her career started with her studying and working in elementary education. In the late 1960s, Chisholm started to make her mark on history, and this is when she “dared to be a catalyst of change.” 

In 1968, she shattered glass ceilings when she became the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress. During her congressional term, she represented New York’s 12th congressional district and served on the following committees: House Agriculture, Education and Labor, Rules, and Veterans Affairs. She tirelessly fought for equality and challenged the norm, earning her the nickname “Fighting Shirley.” As a Congress woman, she supported the Equal Rights Amendment, and helped to create the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children amongst other contributions.


In 1971, she became a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Women’s Political Caucus. Just a year later, Chisholm’s ambition and historical impact would soar. 


In 1972, she launched a groundbreaking campaign for President of the United States. Doing so, she became the first Black candidate for a major party nomination and the first woman to seek the Democratic Party’s nod. Her slogan and title of her autobiography, “Unbought and Unbossed,” captured the essence of her advocacy for women. The slogan resonated with people and perfectly captured her unwavering dedication to fighting for the rights of marginalized people. Chisholm faced racism and sexism that resulted in her losing presidency. Though her presidential bid was not successful, Chisholm’s impact was undeniable. 

Chisholm’s legacy transcends her accomplishments. She reminds us that the courage of those who dare to dream big and challenge the status quo can propel us all towards a more just and fair society.

Want To Learn More?

  • Read Chisholm’s autobiography, “Unbought and Unbossed.”
  • Watch the documentary, “Chisholm ‘72 – Unbought & Unbossed.”
  • Check out Chisholm’s President campaign artifacts at American Women’s History Museum.

Remember one person can truly make a difference.

Written with lots of care, 


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Sources Used To Write This Post:

  1. National Women’s History Museum
  2. Britannica – Shirley Chisholm
  3. National Museum of African American History and Culture

Check out: Two Voices, One Dream: The Unheard Speeches of Josephine Baker and Daisy Bates at the March on Washington


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