Facts about Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Chisholm Biography
Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress. Chisholm served seven terms as a representative from New York’s 12th district, from 1969 until her retirement in 1982.
Chisholm grew up in Barbados and also in New York City, where she earned a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College in 1946, and a master’s degree in elementary education from Columbia University in 1952. She taught school before entering the New York state assembly in 1964 and then easily winning election to Congress in 1968.
She ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 1972, becoming the first black woman to run for the that office. An opponent of the Vietnam War and a proponent of education and child welfare, she received about 5% of the vote at the party’s national convention. (She lost the nomination to George McGovern, who was defeated by Republican incumbent Richard Nixon in the general election.)
Chisholm wrote the memoirs Unbossed and Unbought (1970) and The Good Fight (1973).
Shirley Chisholm was married twice: to Conrad O. Chisholm, from 1949 until their divorce in 1977, and to Buffalo businessman Arthur Hardwick from 1977 until his death in 1986. She had no children.