January 02, 2005

Shirley Chisholm has died

Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to be elected to Congress has died.

Chisholm went to the Hill when Richard Nixon was elected, and stayed until two years into the Reagan Administration. She was a tireless advocate for women and minorities, and though a liberal, a tough yet fair woman fo whose like -- from either side of the aisle -- we need to see more of.

Chisholm, who was raised in a predominantly black New York City neighborhood and was elected to the U.S. House in 1968, was a riveting speaker who often criticized Congress as being too clubby and unresponsive.

"My greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear, is my mouth, out of which come all kinds of things one shouldn't always discuss for reasons of political expediency," she told voters.

She ran for the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 1972. When rival candidate and ideological opposite George Wallace was shot, she visited him in the hospital — an act that appalled her followers.

"He said, `What are your people going to say?' I said: `I know what they're going to say. But I wouldn't want what happened to you to happen to anyone.' He cried and cried," she recalled.

And when she needed support to extend the minimum wage to domestic workers two years later, it was Wallace who got her the votes from Southern members of Congress.

In more recent years, Chisholm had retired to Daytona Beach, FL. Shirley Chisholm was 80 years old.

Posted by mhking at January 2, 2005 11:56 PM

I never cared much for the vast majority of Her politics, but she was a brave and proud lady. You are right, we could use more of that kind of representative in congress, on either side of the aisle.

Posted by: GMRoper at January 3, 2005 01:15 AM

I thought you would mention that she said she represented her district first, not Black people.

Posted by: DarkStar at January 3, 2005 07:58 PM

I saw her speak a few years ago. Nice lady.

Posted by: Donnah at January 3, 2005 11:42 PM

Mrs. Chisholm served as a silent mentor to me. She did not know that she was mentoring me and I never got a chance to let her know. She showed me what intelligent black women represented. Her poised, articulate, well positioned stately posture, paved the way for those of us who have been left behind to make a difference. Her legacy will always be remembered by me.

Posted by: Dr Marjorie Holt at January 4, 2005 01:55 PM

I've been doin research on Shirley Chisholm and she seemed to be such a nice person. So far i've learned alot about her and i hope to learn lots more._ R.I.P Shirley_ And since we never know when our time may come keep watching the gate for me and if you're in heaven tell my cousin LaBrian Harris that I love him and i miss him.

Posted by: Lynell Alexander Jr. at June 6, 2005 02:30 AM
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