Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005)
In 1968, the same year of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Chisholm became the first black woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress. The unbought and unbossed congresswoman co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus and was also the first African-American major-party candidate for president and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
Her legislative achievements include championing a bill ensuring domestic workers received benefits, advocating for improved access to education and child care, fighting for the rights of immigrants, and expanding the government-funded food stamps program (also known by the acronym SNAP) to every state.
Her famous line, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair,” continues to inspire black women and women of color seeking public office to this day.