Black History Month – Shirley Chisholm’s 1972 Presidential Campaign

February is Black History Month, and this year we are honored to have Yahtzeebutterfly as a guest blogger for the occasion. Yahtzeebutterfly loves history and collects historical documents and other items of black history interests.

By Yahtzeebutterfly, Guest Blogger

Shirley-Chisholm-for-PresidentWith February marking the beginning of the presidential primary season as well as start of Black History Month, I have been reflecting back upon Shirley Chisholm’s 1972 presidential campaign.

She had a great campaign slogan: UNBOUGHT AND UNBOSSED!

A  presidential campaign leaflet tells of her beginnings as an articulate advocate for the rights of ALL with her direct experience of helping Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Chicanos, Native Americans, and women, to name a few:

 

 “As a student, schoolteacher, and child-care supervisor, Shirley Chisholm lived, and worked with the shunned, the ignored, the forgotten people of New York’s largest ghetto (Bedford-Stuyvesant).”

 

Shirley-Chisholm-campaign button

“Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm (November 30, 1924 – January 1, 2005) was an American politician, educator, and author. In 1968, she became the first African-American woman elected to the United States Congress, and represented New York’s 12th Congressional District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In 1972, she became the first major-party black candidate for President of the United States, and the first woman ever to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

“Chisholm’s legacy came into renewed prominence during the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton staged their historic ‘firsts’ battle – where the victor would either be the first major party African-American nominee, or the first woman nominee – with observers crediting Chisholm’s 1972 campaign as having paved the way for both of them.”

When she became the first Black congresswoman in 1968, she attempted to address many of the same challenges and issues that our country still faces today:

The same leaflet tells that Rep. Chisholm

“Vigorously opposed Nixon’s brand of law and order—No-Knock police raids, political snooping, harassment arrests” and “…voted against all money bills supporting the ‘monstrous waste and shocking profits in the Defense Budget”… and sponsored the Equal Rights Amendment.

I have always admired Shirley Chisholm because she truly cared about the people of her 12th District and passionately represented them with a strength derived from her compassion, brilliance, and courage.

chisholm-unbossed-and-unbought lit

In her words:

“I am not the candidate of Black America, although I am Black and proud.  I am not the candidate of the women’s movement in this country, although I am a woman, and I am equally proud of that.  I am a candidate of the people.”

 

I wonder how many people today would love reading a 2016 campaign flyer that echoes this sentence from a Shirley Chisholm campaign flyer:

“In this era of expensively pre-packaged politicians, Shirley Chisholm confronts the American public as a candidate Unbought and Unbossed.”

 

 

Posted on 02/01/2016, in Black History Month, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Great job Yahtzee. I remember Shirley Chisholm well. She was definitely a pioneer and a great selection for Black History Month.

    Liked by 4 people

    • yahtzeebutterfly

      I appreciate your words, Roach.

      “She was definitely a pioneer”

      Indeed!

      In an interview, Shirley Chisholm noted:

      In our country at this moment, for the first time in the history of this nation, a person of color, and a woman at that, is running for the highest office of this land.

      And, it is a wonderful thing to know that, in spite of the many obstacles in my path, that there’s such a large cross-section of America who is behind me and say, “Why not?”

      Why not dare to dream like so others before me?

      Her spirit is reflected on a campaign button with the words “Aim High.”

      You can see this button (the red one) in this photo:

      Liked by 2 people

      • And….that’s what we all need to do. I realize that I have big dreams to some. But they have to realize that I don’t recall seeing them in the dream. YOU… can guest post for me any day. Just let me know ;-}

        Liked by 3 people

      • yahtzeebutterfly

        Roach,

        “And….that’s what we all need to do.”

        Yes, it is.

        And, Shirley Chisholm aimed high with her dream because she knew that there were millions of people who needed her to represent them and speak out about their needs and their situation.

        During her 1972 campaign she informed her listeners:

        I will tell the truth about the poverty and hardships suffered by so many of our citizens. Not just the minority or jobless who are traditionally thought of as poor and deprived, but the working poor, as well. The millions of men and women who work hard and constantly and still cannot make enough to decently clothe, house and feed themselves and their families.

        I will tell the truth about the visible differences of race and sex that have been used to isolate women of all racial groups and minority men as an unpaid or underpaid source of labor whether they are working in factories or fields, in their own kitchens or other peoples’ kitchens, and in office buildings or in government agencies, and on college campuses.

        I will tell the truth about the big corporations, the defense industries, the utilities, the railroads, the airlines, and the () business powers that are the true welfare recipients. The taxpayer pays far more for these corporate subsidies than she or he does for the so-called welfare recipient, the individual who simply cannot get the training or opportunity necessary to support themselves and their families.

        Roach, I am humbled by your kind words, especially because I consider myself to be more of a researcher than a writer.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I wish she were running today! We could use someone like her! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • yahtzeebutterfly

      Hi Ginger,

      I hear you.

      Shirley Chisholm was known for being well-spoken and courageous and for taking a strong stance issues that she believed in. As a congresswoman she asserted:

      I did not come to Congress to behave myself and stay away from explosive issues so that I can keep coming back.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. yahtzeebutterfly

    Video of Shirley Chisholm formally announcing her candidacy for president:

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Wow !!! I remember this. I was in a senior in high school and we had those “mock elections” every week. According to our mock elections, McGovern won every time. I also remember an Asian woman seeking the Democratic nomination as well……

    I must say, we could use a candidate with a real grasp on reality…….’cuz………it seems to none of them truly do.

    Liked by 4 people

    • yahtzeebutterfly

      Racer,

      Thanks for sharing your high school experience. Your mock elections did indeed predict the winning candidate…McGovern.

      Liked by 2 people

      • yahtzeebutterfly

        McGovern’s win for the Democratic nomination as well as the convention itself is a memory blur for me because so much media attention that summer was turning to the June 17, 1972 Watergate break-in.

        Liked by 1 person

        • How Nixon get reelected I’ll never know…..well if Forrest Gump hadn’t been awakened by those flashlights, well……we’d never have known !!

          Of course Nixons reelection slogan was spot on CREEP Committee to Re-Elect the President……..

          Liked by 3 people

          • yahtzeebutterfly

            Oh my, bwah ha ha, oh Racer,

            Oh Racer, you delivered your reply perfectly!

            Liked by 2 people

            • Of course……I’m showing my age now….well…..that is, having lived it. Well, not at the Watergate, but it was a current event back then……………so…..well……I don’t actually show how old I am……I still have all my hair and all, but…….what I mean is……

              …………….Thanks !! You guys and gals are the BEST !! and you know me well enough to know………

              Liked by 2 people

            • yahtzeebutterfly

              Ha! I know what you mean, Racer. The younger generation probably doesn’t know how the word “plumber” connects to the Watergate story and, so, probably would not “get” this cartoon:

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Yahtzee,
    I want to thank you for guest blogging. Your knowledge of Black history is wonderful and I’m happy you are sharing it with us.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Excellent article. I had forgotten about Shirley and her run for the Presidency.

    Liked by 2 people

    • yahtzeebutterfly

      Hi Mindy 🙂

      The Topps card company put out a series on presidential candidates. Here is Shirley’s:

      She is also pictured on another company’s card in the series “Super Sisters” :

      Like

  7. It was a big thing for people to say “If we have a woman president, they only change we’d see is more flowers on every corner”

    I really had to give my husband credit… His answer to that was “Maybe with more flowers people would begin to see beauty and stop hating”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. yahtzeebutterfly

    “Shirley Chisholm : The First Black Congresswoman”

    Like

  9. yahtzeebutterfly

    “Shirley Chisholm : My Bid for Presidency”

    Like

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