Shirley Chisholm

Chisholm in 1972, by Thomas J. O’Halloran, U.S. News & World Reports. Light restoration by Adam Cuerden

Birth Name: Shirley Anita St. Hill

Date of Birth: November 30, 1924

Place of Birth: New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Death: January 1, 2005

Place of Death: Ormond Beach, Florida, U.S.

*father – African-Guyanese
*mother – African-Barbadian

Shirley Chisholm was an American politician, educator, and author. She was a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York, from January 3, 1969 to January 3, 1983, and Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus, from January 3, 1977 to January 3, 1981. She was the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

She was a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States in 1972.

Shirley was the daughter of Ruby (Seale) and Charles Christopher St. Hill. Her father was born in British Guiana (now Guyana), and lived in Barbados before coming to the U.S. Her mother was born in Christ Church, Barbados. Her surname was from her former husband, Conrad Chisholm.

In 1972, Shirley and Patsy Mink, also a Democrat, were the second and third women, respectively, to run for a major American party’s presidential nomination (Margaret Chase Smith, who ran for the Republican nomination in 1964, was the first). Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman to have been nominated for Vice President of the United States by a major party, in 1984, and Hillary Clinton is the first woman to have been nominated for the Presidency by a major party, in 2016. Kamala Harris, who was sworn in as Vice President in 2021, is the first woman to serve as either President or Vice President of the United States.

Shirley was the first woman to win a major party’s presidential nominating contest and/or primary, winning three in 1972 (although, because of the specific delegate-allocation rules, the victories were somewhat of a technicality). The only other woman to have won such a contest for a major party is Hillary Clinton, in 2008 and 2016.

Shirley was one of four black Americans to win a caucus and/or primary for a major American political party’s presidential nomination, having won three non-traditional contests in 1972. The other winners are:
*Walter E. Fauntroy (1972; Democratic; won Washington, D.C.)
*Jesse Jackson (Democratic; in 1984, he won 2+ states; in 1988, he won 9+ states)
*Barack Obama (Democratic; in 2008, he won 29+ states; in 2012, he won 50+ states)

As stated, Kamala Harris, whose father is Jamaican, began serving as Vice President of the United States in 2021.

Source: Shirley Chisholm on the 1930 U.S. Census –

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