On January 25, 1972, at the Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, New York, Shirley Chisholm announced her candidacy for President of the United States, becoming the first African American to seek a major party’s nomination for President. She campaigned with the slogan “Unbought and Unbossed,” the title of her autobiography published in 1970.
Congresswoman Chisholm grew up in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. The eldest of four girls, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Brooklyn College, and a Masters of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Columbia University. She worked as a nursery school teacher, child care center director, and educational consultant before seeking her first political office.
In 1964, Chisholm was elected to the New York State Assembly to represent the 55th District. She focused on the educational needs of her district and state.
In 1969, Chisholm was elected to the United States House of Representatives, and represented New York’s 12th congressional district. While serving in Congress, she fought for education, food security, civil rights, and women’s rights. Chisholm was the first African American woman to be elected to Congress. She was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Women’s Caucus.
In 1972, she announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States from Brooklyn, New York, and stressed that she was a candidate for all people despite being black and a woman. Congresswoman Chisholm was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War. She sponsored or co-sponsored legislation on equal rights, day care centers, immigration, families, and Native Americans.
After serving seven terms and retiring from Congress, Chisholm continued to support women in politics by founding the National Political Caucus of Black Women and serving on the advisory council for the National Organization of Women (NOW). She passed away on January 1, 2005 in Ormond Beach, Florida.
President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Representative Shirley Chisholm the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.
- Shirley Chisholm: A Resource Guide compiles digital materials related to Chisholm from the Library of Congress, as well as links to external websites and a selected print bibliography.
- View photos, prints, and drawings of Shirley Chisholm.
- Explore Images of African American Women Changemakers which features African American women legislators, educators, activists, artists, and more.
- Explore sponsored or cosponsored Legislation by Shirley Chisholm on Congress.gov.
- Explore the Rosa Parks Exhibition: Detroit 1957 and Beyond. Rosa Parks supported the Honorable Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm through her congressional and presidential campaigns.
- Explore the biographies and research collections related to Shirley Chisholm and every member of Congress from 1774 to the present through the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Explore more women in politics at National Women’s Political CaucusExternal. Shirley Anita Chisholm was a founding member.