Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 67

Shirley Chisholm

york education city

US representative and social activist, born in New York City, New York, USA. She excelled at school and won scholarships to Vassar and Oberlin, but her parents were unable to support this financially and instead she studied at Columbia University, gaining an MA in elementary education (1951). She worked as a teacher and then an educational consultant to New York City's Bureau of Child Welfare (1959–64). Developing an interest in politics, in 1964 she was voted into the New York State Assembly and served two terms. She made history as the first black congresswoman (Democrat, New York, 1969–83), and ran for the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 1972. A champion of minority education and employment opportunities, she taught at Mount Holyoke College (1983–7). She wrote an autobiography, Unbought and Unbossed (1970), and The Good Fight (1973), an account of her candidature for president.

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