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Shirley Chisholm Essay

1170 words - 5 pages

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm, first African American woman to be elected to Congress was born in Brooklyn on November 30, 1924. She is one of the most profound and admired women that challenged society not only as a woman, but a woman of color. She made many contributions to the women's movement and society.
Shirley began her interest in politics in the 1940's. She attended political clubs where community members met with the assemblyman and committee to discuss problems with the city. Shirley began to notice the differences in which the way white people and black people were treated. The room was divided by the color of skin. Blacks on one side and whites on the other. ...view middle of the document...

She temporarily stepped aside from politics and was more focused on the welfare of children in Brooklyn. She was promoted several times within the child care system. She entered the field as an aide and ending up being a director of several day care facilities. It was her experiences in the day care setting that opened her eyes to the many problems in health care. She began to notice the effects of poverty on women and children in her community (Chisholm 28). It must have difficult to work around families that did not have the means to better their lives. Perhaps observing the inequalities pushed Shirley to become involved with government and promote better health care.
Becoming involved in politics was not the initial goal that Shirley was striving for. It was not until she was in college in which she first became interested in the Bedford-Stuyvesant Political League. She was impressed with a man named Hodder, who represented the Bedford- Stuyvesant Political League, and his speeches that supported the black community. He sparked her interest in politics and from then on Shirley was in and out of the political spotlight (Metcalf 118).
Even though many people doubted the abilities of Shirley she had a tremendous amount of political support from her husband Conrad. He was not jealous over the amount of attention that Shirley received nor did he interfere with her interest in politics (Chisholm 46). It is important for a person to be given support by their spouse, especially when a person is in the media. Maintaining a close relationship with your spouse enables a person to feel strong and sustained. Being that Shirley was popular and did receive attention it is difficult to believe that he did not become jealous over the vast amounts of attention. However, the attention did not seem to bother Conrad. Shirley stated that he would actually get out of the way for photographers, so that they could get a good shot of her (Chisholm 46).
In 1968 Shirley was elected into the United States Congress. Admired by many American people, she proudly sat in Congress. She publicly opposed the Vietnam War, supported abortion and Equal Rights Amendment (Gitenstein 257). Her election to Congress was a success. She had fought a long battle for all women. With her strength and determination she achieved her goal. She even went so far as to run for President, but unfortunately was not elected. It would have been interesting to have experienced such a powerful woman in the presidency. She might...

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