Avenger of the Week | Shirley Chisholm

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Right now, there are five women from a major political party running for president. FIVE! Women have run in the past, but five is certainly a record number. Most people remember the historic runs of Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton, but the real trailblazer was Shirley Chisholm. Ms. Chisholm was the first woman and first Black person to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties. She was also the first Black woman in Congress and the second woman and first Black person to serve on the House Rules Committee.

After earning a Master’s degree in early childhood education, she joined local chapters of the League of Women Voters, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Urban League, as well as the Democratic Party Club. Later she became the second Black member in the New York State Legislature, earning the nickname “Fighting Shirley” after introducing more than 50 pieces of legislation and championing racial and gender equality. She co-founded of the National Women's Political Caucus in 1971, and then later the National Political Congress of Black Women.

Despite being banned from appearing on televised debates and only being allowed to make one campaign speech during her presidential run, Chisholm earned 10% of the delegates’ votes. When asked about her legacy, she stated, “I want to be remembered as a woman… who dared to be a catalyst of change.”

A record number of women are running for President of the United States, a fact that the first woman and first Black candidate, #AvengerOfTheWeek Shirley Chisholm, would surely be proud of. #GenderAvenger https://www.genderavenger.com/blog/avenger-of-the-week-shirley-chisholm