Chisholm, Shirley, 1924-2005

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Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm (1924-2005) activist, educator, politician and author was born in Brooklyn, New York, the oldest of four girls. She lived in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn with her factory worker father, Charles (originally from British Guyana) and her seamstress and domestic worker mom, Ruby Seale (who came from Barbados). Between 1927 and 1934, Chisholm was sent to live with her grandmother, Emaline Seale, in Christ Church, Barbados. Chisholm attended local school, received her B.A. in sociology at Brooklyn College and earned an M.A. in early childhood education from Columbia University (1952).

At Brooklyn College, one of Shirley's professors, blind science professor Louis Warsoff, "became interested in me...I loved formal debating. Once Prof. Warsoff said You ought to go into politics." Her response, "Proffy, I'm black and I'm a woman." Since blacks were not welcome in social clubs, she formed a sorority just for black women and named it Ipothia ("In pursuit of the highest in all"). From 1953-1959, Chisholm was director of the Hamilton-Madison Child Care Center and from 1959-1964, she was educational consultant for the Division of Day Care in New York City. Chisholm was active in the day care division of the city's Bureau of Child Welfare as well as the Bedford-Stuyvesant Political League and League of Women Voters.

Chisholm's political interests grew and by 1964, she won a seat in the New York State Assembly. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to Congress by defeating the Republican candidate James Farmer. In 1977, she joined the powerful House Rules Committee. During her tenure in Congress, Chisholm worked to improve opportunities for inner-city residents, supported spending increases for education, healthcare and other social services, was involved in children's needs, and opposed the war in Vietnam. She fought for women's rights, native Americans, Haitian refugees, migrant farm workers and for minimun wage for domestic workers. One of her great achievements was passage of the SEEK (Search for Excellence Education and Knoweledge) Program, which enabled CUNY to admit a more diverse urban population. In 1972, Chisholm became the first woman to campaign for the Democratic nomination for President. She said her "campaign was a catalyst for change" and ran "in spite of hopeless odds...to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo." She retired from Congress in 1982 after serving seven terms.

Chisholm wrote her autobiography Unbought and Unbossed (1970) which was turned into a documentary that aired on public television. It chronicled her 1972 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination and was directed and produced by the independent black woman filmmaker Shola Lynch. The film was featured at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 and won a Peabody Award. In 1984, she helped found the National Political Congress of Black Women and authored her second book, The Good Fight (1973) Chisholm was a member of the National Organization for Women, was one of the founding members of the National Women's Political Caucus, founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and helped co-found the National Political Congress of Black Women. She became the Purington Chair at Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA, where she taught for four years. Married twice (to Conrad Chisholm and Arthur Hardwick, Jr.)

Chisholm moved to Florida in 1991. She died at the age of eighty on January 1, 2005 at her home in Ormond Beach, Florida. "I'd like to be known as a catalyst for change, a woman who had the determination and perseverance to fight on behalf of the female population and the black population, because I'm a product of both, being black and a woman. I'd like them to say that Shirley Chisholm had guts ..."

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Records of the Women's Equity Action League, 1966-1979 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn She's Nobody's Baby collection, 1980-1987 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Harlem YMCA photographs., 1920s-1970s., (bulk 1940s-1960s) University of Minnesota. Kautz Family YMCA Archives. [ymca]
referencedIn Hugh Morton Photographs and Films,  , late 1920s-2006, (bulk 1940s-1990s) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. North Carolina Collection.
referencedIn Additional records, 1972-1985 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Harvard Law School Forums Records Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn New Democratic Coalition of New York. Records, 1960-1978. Rutgers University
referencedIn Henry, Diana Mara. Photographs, 1969-1976 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Transylvania University. Activities files, 1889-1994. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky State Archives
referencedIn Shirley Chisholm lecture [videorecording], 1986 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Shirley Chisholm letters, 1973 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Staff Secretary. 1976 - 1981. Presidential Files. 1977 - 1981. 10/5/78
referencedIn National Organization for Women: New York City Chapter Records Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Stanford University. Associated Students. Speakers Bureau. Associated Students of Stanford University, Speakers Bureau, audio-visual materials, 1981-1996. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Photographs, ca. 1969-1985 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Gold, Patricia, 1935-. Papers, 1964-1990 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers, 1964-1990 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers of Florynce Kennedy, (inclusive), (bulk), 1915-2004, 1947-1993 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Photographs of the White House Photograph Office (Clinton Administration). 1/20/1993 - 1/20/2001. Photographs Relating to the Clinton Administration. 1/20/1993 - 1/20/2001. Photograph of President William J. Clinton Greeting Shirley Chisholm, Ambassador-Designate to Jamaica
referencedIn Barbara B. Kennelly Papers., undated, 1977-1998. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.
creatorOf Gollobin, Ira, 1911-. Haitian Refugee collection, 1972-2004. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Bancroft, Mary. Papers, 1872-1997 (inclusive), 1932-1987 (bulk). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Records, 1967-1990 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Chisholm, Shirley, 1924-2005. The civic and social responsibilities of a college education : commencement address at Mount Holyoke College : typescript, 1981 May 24 / Shirley A. Chisholm. Mount Holyoke College, Williston & Miles-Smith Library
referencedIn Guide to the Sam Reiss Photographs, circa 1930-1975 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Staff Secretary. 1976 - 1981. Presidential Files. 1977 - 1981. 7/14/77
creatorOf Chisholm, Shirley, 1924-2005. The Shirley Chisholm '72 Collection, 1968-2003. Brooklyn College
referencedIn Guide to the Daily Worker and Daily World Photographs Collection, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Election ephemera from 1969-1976, 1969-1976. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Diana Davies Papers MS 309., 1960s-1996 (ongoing) Sophia Smith Collection
referencedIn Haitian Refugee collection, 1972-2004 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
referencedIn Stanford University. Associated Students. Speakers Bureau. Shirley Chisholm lecture : video recording, 1986. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn RISM Vertical Files, Bulk, 1960-2000, Bulk, 1960-2000 1900-2004 New York University. Archives
referencedIn Alexander, Dolores, 1931-2008. NOW officer papers, 1960-1973 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers, 1872, 1932-1997 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Associated Students of Stanford University, Speakers Bureau, audio-visual materials, 1981-1996 Cecil H. Green Library. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Morton, Hugh M. Hugh Morton photographs and films: People and events, late 1920s-early 2000s (bulk 1940s-1990s) (Series 2). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women (U.S.). Records, 1972-1986 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Shirely Chisholm Campaign Leaflet collection, 1972. Western Michigan University, Dwight B. Waldo Library
creatorOf Chisholm, Shirley, 1924-2005. Shirley Chisholm papers, 1963-1994. Rutgers University
creatorOf Bond, Julian, 1940-. Julian Bond papers [manuscript], circa 1943-2006. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Southern Elections Fund. Papers, 1965-1975 of the Fund and of the chairman of the Board of Trustees, Julian Bond [manuscript]. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Guide to the Daily Worker and Daily World Photographs Collection, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company correspondence, 1881-1981 (inclusive), 1940-1979 (bulk). Houghton Library
creatorOf Chisholm, Shirley, 1924-2005. Correspondence : with Marian Anderson, 1972. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Records of the Harvard-Radcliffe Afro-American Cultural Center, and undated, 1969-1975, 1981-1982 Harvard University Archives.
referencedIn Fellowship Commission. Photographs, 1946-1985 (Inclusive Dates). Temple University Libraries, Paley Library
referencedIn Papers of NOW officers, 1966-1981 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Friedan, Betty, 1921-2006. Papers, 1933-1985 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Franklin, Robert A. Women in Congress radio broadcast, 1997. Montana Historical Society Library
referencedIn National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Office of Field Director of Louisiana. Records. 1964-1976. Tulane University, Amistad Research Center
referencedIn Harlem Branch YMCA. Harlem YMCA photographs, 1920s-1970s (bulk 1940s-1960s). University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
referencedIn National Organization for Women. New York City. Records, 1966-1984 (bulk 1970-1972). Churchill County Museum
creatorOf Chisholm, Shirley, 1924-2005. [Letter] 1971 November 11, Washington [to] William P. Thompson, Philadelphia / Shirley Chisholm. Presbyterian Historical Society, PHS
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Staff Secretary. 1976 - 1981. Staff Scheduling Memoranda. 1977 - 1978. 7/1/77-7/13/77
referencedIn Motley, Constance Baker, 1921-2005. Papers 1948-1988. Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn Records of, Sojourner, (inclusive), (bulk), 1920-2004, 1975-2002 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Constance Baker Motley Papers MS 110., 1948-1988 Sophia Smith Collection
referencedIn Alexander, Dolores. Papers, 1960-1973 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Stanford guest lecture series videorecordings, 1986 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Lincoln University (Pa.). Honorary degree recipients collection, 1868-1989 (bulk 1940-1989). Lincoln University, Langston Hughes Memorial Library, Langston Hughes Memorial Library
referencedIn Papers of NOW officer Dolores Alexander, 1960-1973 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Guide to the Daily Worker and Daily World Negatives Collection, 1930-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Joe Overstreet Campaign Button Collection, 1964-1988. University of Mississippi
referencedIn Bernard, Shirley, 1928-. Papers of NOW officers, 1966-1981 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing (1950- ). Archives 1945-1974. Tulane University, Amistad Research Center
referencedIn Davies, Diana, 1938-. Papers 1960-1996 (ongoing). Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations (Nixon Administration). 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Sound Recordings of Meetings and Telephone Conversations. 2/16/1971 - 7/18/1973. Camp David hard wire tape number 219
creatorOf Shirley Chisholm papers, 1963-1994. Rutgers University
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith 9 to 5: National Association of Working Women (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Alexander, Dolores. person
associatedWith Bakke, Allan Paul person
correspondedWith Bancroft, Mary, 1903-1997 person
associatedWith Bernard, Shirley, 1928- person
associatedWith Bond, Julian, 1940- person
alumnusOrAlumnaOf Brooklyn College corporateBody
associatedWith Carter, Jimmy, 1924- person
associatedWith City University of New York. Search for Education and Knowledge Program. corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf Columbia University corporateBody
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Congressional Black Caucus. corporateBody
associatedWith Davies, Diana, 1938- person
memberOf Delta Sigma Theta Sorority corporateBody
associatedWith Fellowship Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Ferraro, Geraldine. person
correspondedWith Friedan, Betty, 1921-2006 person
associatedWith Frishman, Robert. person
associatedWith Gold, Patricia, 1935- person
associatedWith Gollobin, Ira, 1911- person
associatedWith Harlem Branch YMCA. corporateBody
correspondedWith Harvard Law School Forum corporateBody
correspondedWith Harvard-Radcliffe Afro-American Cultural Center corporateBody
associatedWith Henry, Diana Mara. person
correspondedWith Houghton Mifflin Company. corporateBody
correspondedWith Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973. person
correspondedWith Kennedy, Florynce person
associatedWith Kennelly, Barabara B. person
associatedWith King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968. person
associatedWith Lincoln University (Pa.) corporateBody
associatedWith Lynch, Shola. person
associatedWith Morton, Hugh M. person
correspondedWith Motley, Constance Baker, 1921-2005 person
employeeOf Mount Holyoke College corporateBody
associatedWith National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Office of Field Director of Louisiana. corporateBody
associatedWith National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing (1950- ) corporateBody
associatedWith National Organization for Women. New York City. corporateBody
associatedWith National Women's Political Caucus (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith New Democratic Coalition of New York. corporateBody
memberOf New York (State). Legislature. Assembly corporateBody
associatedWith Pitts, James P. person
associatedWith Reiss, Sam. person
associatedWith Rockefeller, Nelson A. (Nelson Aldrich), 1908-1979. person
associatedWith Sojourner (Cambridge, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Southern Elections Fund. corporateBody
associatedWith Stanford University. Associated Students. Speaker's Bureau corporateBody
associatedWith Stanford University. Associated Students. Speakers Bureau. corporateBody
associatedWith Stanford University. Associated Students. Speakers Bureau. corporateBody
associatedWith Transylvania University. corporateBody
memberOf United States. Congress. House person
founderOf Unity Democratic Club (Brooklyn, N.Y.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Wallace, George C. (George Corley), 1919-1998 person
associatedWith Wilkins, Roy, 1901-1981. person
correspondedWith Women's Equity Action League corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Williamsville NY US
Ormond Beach FL US
New York City NY US
Subject
African Americans--Social conditions
Education, higher
Women politicians
Families
African American women
African Americans--Education (Higher)
African Americans
Medical care
Minorities--Employment
Social justice
Housing
Women's rights
Education and state
Families, Black
Presidential candidates
Hunger
Community development, Urban
African Americans--Politics and government
Racism
Drug abuse
African Americans--Medical care
Social participation
Legislators
African Americans--Education
African American leadership
African Americans--Economic conditions
Affirmative action programs
African American youth
African Americans--Civil rights
Occupation
Legislators
Feminists
College teachers
School administrators
State Representative
Representatives, U.S. Congress--New York (State)
Teacher's Aide
Function

Person

Birth 1924-11-30

Death 2005-01-01

Female

Americans

English

Information

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