Today, we know of many double minorities who have strived to and succeeded in opportunities that aren’t easy to achieve. We have shared the stories of Janet Collins, the first Black prima ballerina to perform at The Met and the brave Bessie Coleman who had to leave the country in order to earn her pilot’s license. Like these two prolific women, Shirley Chisholm knew how hard the road would be ahead of her.
After initially working as a school teacher, Chisholm joined local chapters of the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, Democratic Party club and Urban League. In 1964, she ran for and became the second African American in the New York State Legislature followed by her winning a seat in Congress in 1968 – the first African American woman to do so. During her tenure, Chisholm introduced more than 50 pieces of legislation and championed racial and gender equality and fighting to end the Vietnam War. During her time as a congresswoman, Chisholm co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus, helped form the Black Caucus and became the first Black woman and second woman to ever serve on the House Rules Committee.