Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005)

Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman to be elected in the United States Congress. Her congressional efforts centered on children, women, education, black colleges, winning the minimum wage for domestics, and issues affecting Native Americans, Haitian refugees, migrant workers and the poor. She co-founded the National Women's Political Caucus. A candidate for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination, she won 152 delegates before withdrawing from the race.

Here's some great quotes from the unforgettable Ms. Chisholm:

"My God, what do we want? What does any human being want? Take away an accident of pigmentation of a thin layer of our outer skin and there is no difference between me and anyone else. All we want is for that trivial difference to make no difference."

"When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom profit that loses."

"It is not heroin or cocaine that makes one an addict, it is the need to escape from a harsh reality. There are more television addicts, more baseball and football addicts, more movie addicts, and certainly more alcohol addicts in this country than there are narcotics addicts."

“I ran for the Presidency, despite hopeless odds, to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo... The next time a woman runs, or a black, a Jew or anyone from a group that the country is ‘not ready’to elect to its highest office, I believe that he or she will be taken seriously from the start... I ran because somebody had to do it first.”

"I am, was, and always will be a catalyst for change."

You can download some MP3 files of her dynamic speeches at:

Next month, PBS will broadcast a new documentary on Shirley Chisholm entitled "Unbought and Unbossed" as part of the P.O.V. series.

I can't wait to see this.

E.P. Wednesday, January 05, 2005