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Shirley Chisholm

True First Series / Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm

Although born in Brooklyn New York, the woman who was to become the first black candidate to run for a major party’s presidential nomination spent much of her childhood in Barbados. Returning to the United States as a ten-year-old, Chisolm finished her schooling and worked for a time as an educator. Her interest in politics brought her to the New York State Assembly and she subsequently became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress in 1968. Chisolm always maintained that she faced more discrimination in her career as a woman than she did as a person of African descent, but she received plenty of grief on both counts. Battling death threats and overt hostility, she nonetheless sought the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1972, losing out to George McGovern. Chisolm retired from Congress in 1982 and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her unflagging contribution to civil rights and gender equality.

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