Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed

Originally published on KCTS9.org
The year was 1972. U.S. presidential election campaigns were in full swing, with President Richard Nixon seeking a second term. Against the backdrop of domestic unrest after eight years of the Vietnam War, the Black Power movement, and second-wave feminism, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm was making history for the second time. Determined, despite unlikely odds, Chisholm entered the presidential race seeking the democratic nomination, facing off against rivals George McGovern and George C. Wallace.

“I am not the candidate of black America, although I am black and proud,” said Chisholm in a speech announcing her candidacy on Jan. 25 at the Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“I am not the candidate of the women’s movement of this country, although I am a woman, and I am equally proud of that.” America’s first African-American woman presidential candidate declared, “I am the candidate of the people of America.”

She campaigned hard, ardently opposing the Vietnam War and calling to bring the troops back home. “Use those monies to revitalize and rebuild our cities,” she urged.

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