#TBT: The first black female presidential candidate

"It is time that other peoples in America besides white males run for the highest office of this land." This was Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to run for president in 1972.

First black female presidential candidate

Who was she?

Shirley Anita St. Hill was born on November 30, 1924, in Brooklyn to Caribbean immigrant parents. Her father was a factory laborer while her mother was a skilled seamstress and a domestic worker. She lived in Barbados from ages five to ten with her maternal grandmother where she got a very serious education. When she returned to Brooklyn, she attended Girls’ High School and later earned her bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College. Known for her debate skills, she met and married Conrad Chisholm in the late 1940s. Shirley later taught nursery school and earned her masters in elementary education from Columbia University in 1952.

After becoming deeply involved with Division of Day Care and Friends Day Nursery, Chisholm became more involved in political clubs including the Bedford-Stuyvesant Political League and the League of Women Voters. She led the pack as a Democratic member of the New York State Assembly for three years and her tenure included getting unemployment benefits extended to domestic workers and the introduction of a program to provide disadvantaged kids a chance at college while receiving special education. Her hard work led her to become the first black woman elected to Congress in 1968.

In Congress, she was known for creating a food stamp program expansion, becoming a high-ranking member of the Education and Labor Committee, founding both the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Women’s Political Caucus, and becoming Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus. She later met Arthur Hardwick Jr in 1977 and married him that year.

Chisholm began her presidential run in 1972, making her both the first black major-party candidate to run, and the first woman to run for a Democrat nomination. After receiving former Vice President Hubert Humphrey’s black delegates, Chisholm ended the primary in fourth place with 430,703 votes and 1 state won. Even after her retirement in 1982 and her death in 2005, Chisholm has inspired many groundbreaking female and black candidates in today’s government.


03/12/2020 9:59 AM
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  • Daniel R.
    16 hours

    Wow thank you British educational system never heard her name before untill seeing this post at 30 surely we should be teaching children about this lady

  • Antoinette M.
    17 hours

    She put them on blast! She was a ghost writer for many of the powerful leaders who ran the states and country at that time! 🤩 Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated!!!!

  • Tito T.
    17 hours

    I would vote for her now if she was running at our next federal election.

  • Jamaal C.
    18 hours

    do you remember her

  • Cynthia L.
    19 hours

    My mentor

  • Slandy O.
    19 hours

    She was an amazing woman. I read her life story when my dad gifted me her biography as a middle schooler. She was wayyyyy ahead of her time. She was then what this country needs today. May she Rest In Peace. 👏🏽

  • Vicky J.
    20 hours

    I love it she was ahead of her time her time is now

  • May K.
    20 hours

    Just saw the series Mrs. America. Recommend it.

  • Laura M.
    21 hours

    Remember Shirley Chisolm. Remarkable woman.

  • Lloyd S.
    21 hours

    Run for the president Shirley Chisholm

  • Erwin M.
    21 hours

    Wow what a supremely intelligent and articulate lady! I would have voted for her no question, hands down! But I wasn’t yet

  • Tim D.
    a day

    Amen 🙏🏿 wake up

  • Vanessa F.
    a day

    I would have voted for her

  • Shay R.
    a day

    I love voice

  • RP F.
    a day

    This woman would have destroyed them in a debate

  • Evette's L.
    a day

    She was the first black woman in Congress and the first woman and black person to run for president. I voted for her.

  • Kristin M.
    a day

    Please bring us a leader like this now.

  • Butter T.
    a day

    "Unbought and Unbossed" enough said!!

  • Akua O.
    a day

    A true Queen. .

  • Kenesha P.
    a day

    This woman is powerful