shirley chisholm

A political leader for many years, and a co-founder of the National women’s
Political Caucus, Shirley Chisholm is the one of the most famous African -
American woman in politics. She was the first black woman to be elected to
congress, and also was the first black women to run for president (1972). She
was even asked by bill Clinton to serve as American – ambassador to Jamaica.
But this isn’t her whole life, so in these further paragraphs I plan to tell
you about her great and wonderful life.

In 1924 Shirley Chisholm was born by parents Charles St. Hill and ruby seale,
who had immigrated to Brooklyn from Barbados in the early 1920’s. Shirley was
the oldest out of 4 girls, her other 3 sisters being Odessa, Muriel, and Selma.

When Shirley was 3 her parents sent her to live with her grandmother (on her
mothers side) in Barbados where there was more room to run and play. At her
grandmothers Shirley lived with her 4 cousins. There was no running water, or
electricity here so the children had to do many chores like getting fresh water,
cleaning the house, tending to the garden and feeding animals at the farm.
However the reward was to go to the beach and swim, play, and run in the clear
waters of the Caribbean.

Then in 1934, when Shirley was 10, an event happened that would change her
life forever. Her parents, the St. Hills decided to take Shirley back to
Brooklyn. Brooklyn was very different from her grandmothers farm and Shirley
found herself getting very confused and getting lost in the streets and

The St. Hills were the first blacks in a neighborhood of whites, Jewish
immigrants, and 1st generation Americans. Shirley and her father often had long
talks about politics and social issues. Also the St. Hills friends, West Indian
immigrants , would have long late night discussions about debates and social
politics. They often talked about the problems they faced because of their
color. She would take these discussions in to mind and vowed to make a

Although Shirley and her sisters were among the few blacks at her school, and
among the few of their religion, Shirley was determined to be heard. Shirley was
branded as a trouble maker because she was always willing to do whatever she
needed to be heard. As this was happening she joined many committees and clubs
like the Bedford Political league (Shirley moved to the Bedford neighborhood in
1936). The purpose of the Bedford Political league was to get blacks elected to
every level of government. Shirley was also in the national Association for the
Advancement of Colored People and the League of Women Voters. Then Shirley
decided that it wasn’t fare to judge people on the color of their skin , and
that she wouldn’t spend her whole life fighting racism.

Shirley excelled in highschool and graduated from Girls High in 1942. She
then accepted a scholarship and attended Brooklyn College. After receiving her
BA at Brooklyn college Shirley attended Columbia where she received her masters
Degree. Then in 1949 while still in Columbia University she fell in love and
married a quiet man named Conrad Chisholm.

Although she was becoming more and more famous she still had 2 main obstacles
to overcome, she was black, and was a women. These 2 obstacles limited the
fields she could go into. She then chooses politics remembering the decisions
her and her father had talked about when she was a child. So in 1960 Mrs.
Chisholm formed the Unity Democratic Club, which tried to get black leaders
elected to the New York Assembly. This club was very popular and well-known, and
by 1962 the club had their first victory. Tom Jones, an African – American man
was elected to the New York Assembly. In 1964 Shirley Chisholm decided that she
was tired of doing all the work for other people and decided to run for
assembly. Then in 1964 she was victorious and was elected to the New York
Assembly. When she arrived at the capital she was only 1 of 6 black assembly
members, and she was the only black woman. One of the most important bills an
Assembly woman Chisholm got passed was a program called SEEK. This program
helped young men and women from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Shirley learned many things as an assembly women, and in 1968 she ran for the
U.S. Congress. Shirley used strategies such as speaking Spanish in Spanish and
Puerto Rican areas, and when her counterpart, James Farmer, said