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 Yahtzeebutterfly loves history and collects historical documents and other items of black history interests.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
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 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.
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.”