Being that it is Black History month I found it prudent that in the midst of the shade, foolery, and other entertainment foolishness that I carved out a little time to educate my captive audience. I’ve decided to team up with @Anti_Intellect of the Anti Intellect Blog to bring to you guys a few nuggets of Black History. ~ Funky Dineva
The election of America’s first Black president is a moment in Black History that makes many people proud. Considering all that the Black community has been through, and continues to go through, I understand why that image resonates with so many people. But I also think that it is important to recognize those who paved the way for the possibly of a Black president to become a reality.
For today’s Black History Month post, I would like to celebrate the life and legacy of Shirley Chilsholm. I often see images on the internet that link President Obama to Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcom X. I think that this sexist tendency to only link the president to male civil rights leaders does a disservice to Shirley Chisholm–the first major party Black candidate for the presidency. Black history is more than Black men, it is also Black women.
Shirley Chisholm was born in Brooklyn, New York on November 30, 1924. The daughter of Caribbean immigrants, she would earn a bachelors from Brooklyn College and a masters from Columbia University.
In 1968, Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress. She worked hard throughout her life to end sexism and racism. At a time when women were underrepresented in politics, she hired all women in her congressional office, half of whom were Black. She knew that both racial justice and gender justice were important.
In 1972, Shirley Chisholm decided to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. As both a woman and a Black person, she faced both racism and sexism while seeking the presidential nomination. Men doubted her because she was a woman, and White’s doubted her because she was Black. She was quoted as saying,
“In the end antiblack, antifemale, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing – antihumanism.”
Shirley Chisholm did not win the Democratic nomination for president, but she was able to win primaries in Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Jersey. This sent a powerful message that women and Blacks could be serious contenders in presidential politics. Long before Barack Obama would become president of the United States, there was Shirley Chisholm breaking down racist and sexist barriers.
Shirley Chisholm would continue to involve herself in political causes throughout her life. She died on January 1, 2005 at the age of 80.
I choose to celebrate Shirley Chisholm as a Black woman who paved the way for our first Black president. Without Shirley Chisholm there would be no Barack Obama.