Shirley Chisholm Research Paper
When Shirley Chisholm ran for US president in 1972, she did so under one slogan: Unbossed and Unbothered. At the start of her campaign, Shirley’s student coordinator was tasked with picking up a shipment of brochures and bumper stickers from the airport. Somebody had graffitied “Go home, n*****” all over the box.
Shirley was not just the first and only woman in the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee; she was also its first ever black candidate for the White House.
“I am not the candidate of black America, although I am black and proud,” Shirley told voters in her native Brooklyn, New York in a speech announcing her intention to run. “I am not the candidate of the …show more content…
This didn’t surprise her; she knew that she was not a favorite to win, and that there was little chance that she would end up in the White House. Instead, Shirley’s presidential campaign was a symbol of what had yet to be achieved—or to put it more simply, she ran because she knew someone had to do it first.
It was a reflection of her conviction that politics ought to—and had to—be representative of the people under its power. “Our government, if [it] indeed is a democratic form of government, must be representative of the different segments of the American society,” she said. “I feel that the cabinet and the department head of this country must have women, must have blacks, must have Indians, must have younger people, and not be completely and totally controlled constantly by white males.”
The symbolic campaign that Shirley undertook in 1972 would see its promise manifested in the Democratic primaries of 2008, when a young senator called Barack Obama faced off against Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination. Four decades ago, it would have been unthinkable for a black man and a woman to be vying for presidency—let alone at the same time. But it was possible, thanks in part to Shirley’s