Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shirley Chisholm

“Of my two "handicaps" being female put more obstacles in my path than being black.”(Lewis) These are the words of Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman to run for, and win a seat in Congress.  Shirley Chisholm was born on November 30, 1924 to West Indian Immigrant parents, she was the eldest of four children.  Shirley Chisholm like many women, of all races, was determined to tear down stereotypes about women and what their rolls should be.
             Shirley completed school and even earned degree, graduating cum laude from Brooklyn College in 1946, she worked for a daycare as a teacher, and later a director.    She then met and married her first husband, Conrad Chisholm; a Jamaican private investigator, after her divorce from him she married Arthur Hardwick Jr., a Buffalo businessman who later died. Chisholm never remarried nor had kids after the death of her second husband. Mrs. Chisholm began her political career with winning a seat in the state assembly, and four years later winning a seat in Congress in 1968. (Black)  During this time a woman was still considered “incompetent” and was only meant to work in the home. 
            Shirley was introduced to politics through her first husband, Conrad Chisholm, she attended various political events with him and it immediately gained her interest.  Naturally, Mrs. Chisholm began focusing on women’s rights.  One of her very first achievements as a member of Congress was the National Organization for Women. Shirley Chisholm stands out not only because she was a woman in a “man’s world”, but because she was an African American woman.  The fact that Shirley Chisholm was an African American did not discourage her, as she explained in this 1969 quotation.  “Prejudice against blacks is becoming unacceptable although it will take years to eliminate it. But it is doomed because, slowly, white America is beginning to admit that it exists. Prejudice against women is still acceptable. There is very little understanding yet of the immorality involved in double pay scales and the classification of most of the better jobs as "for men only." (Lewis

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