Tuesday, August 11, 2020


Article Index

Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005)

ShirleyChisholm02In 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.





Vernellia R. Randall
Founder and Editor
Professor Emerita of Law
The University of Dayton School of Law