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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dare to Be Yourself.. Make History on Purpose!

In 2004, Shirley Chisholm said about herself, "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."

Shirley Chisholm was born in New York but spent seven of her early years growing up in Barbados with her grandmother. She returned to New York and her parents in time to study at Brooklyn College. She met Eleanor Roosevelt when she was 14, and took to heart Mrs. Roosevelt's advice: "don't let anybody stand in your way."

In 1971, Shirley Chisholm was a founding member of the National Women's Political Caucus.

When she ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 1972, she knew that she could not win the nomination, but she nevertheless wanted to raise issues she felt were important. She was the first black and the first woman to run for president.

Shirley Chisholm served in Congress for seven terms, until 1982. In 1984, she helped form the National Political Congress of Black Women (NPCBW). She taught, as the Purington Professor at Mount Holyoke College, and spoke widely. She moved to Florida in 1991. She briefly served as ambassador to Jamaica during the Clinton administration.
Shirley Chisholm died in Florida in 2005 after a series of strokes.

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