Shirley Chisholm


I may or may not be done with this painting, but I’ve been sitting on it for two weeks now, so I’m showing it to you. If you have any suggestions for how I could make it better, I’m all ears.

Who was she?

Shirley Chisholm was an American politician, educator and author who became the first African American woman elected to the United States Congress.

What did she do?

The child of Caribbean immigrants, Chisholm was an educator in early life, working as the director at daycare centers in Brooklyn and Manhattan. She was known as the authority on issues involving early education and child welfare. Running these centers got her interested in politics. She became a Democratic member of the New York State Assembly where she helped to pass legislature that granted unemployment benefits to domestic workers and introduced the SEEK Program (Search for Education, Evaluation and Knowledge) which provided disadvantaged students a remedial education and the opportunity to enter college. In 1968, she was elected to the House of Representatives, becoming the first Black woman to do so. While in office, she worked to expand the food stamps program and was integral in the formation of WIC, which provides food and milk for poor mothers. In 1972, Shirley Chisholm ran for president.

Why does that matter?

The programs that Shirley Chisholm promoted and founded are still integral in helping poor people today. Although she didn’t win her bid for the presidency, the mere fact that she ran as a woman and an African American paved the way for the diversity in the field today and the fact that we now have a Black president.

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