Shirley, neé Shirley Anita St. Hill, was born to Carribean immigrants in Brooklyn, NY in November, 1924. She graduated from Brooklyn College in 1946 with a B.A. in sociology. Shirley was married to Conrad Chisholm in 1949 (until 1977). In 1952 she received an M.A. from Columbia University. While an education consultant for New York City's day-care division, she was also active with community and political groups, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and her district's Unity Democratic Club.

In 1964 Shirley Chisholm was elected assembly person, to the New York state legislature from the Fifty-fifth district, serving until 1968. In 1968 she ran for congressional representative from New York's Twelfth District and in defeating the famous civil-rights leader James Farmer and became the first Black woman elected to Congress when she was elected to the House of Representatives by New York's Twelfth District.

Newly elected to congress Shirley Chisholm was assigned to the House Agriculture Committee, which she felt was irrelevant to her urban constituency. In an unheard of move, she demanded reassignment and got switched to the Veterans Affairs Committee. Not long afterward she voted for Hale Boggs, who was white, over John Conyers, who was black, for majority leader. Boggs rewarded her with a place on the prized Education and Labor Committee and she was its third ranking member when she left. She was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Chisholm was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for U.S. president in 1972. In her book, The Good Fight(1973), she said,



"Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread and deepseated, that it is invisible because it is so normal. "
"I ran for the Presidency, despite hopeless odds, to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo."
"The next time a woman runs, or a black, a Jew or anyone from a group that the country is 'not ready' to elect to its highest office, I believe that he or she will be taken seriously from the start."

Chisholm won 152 delegates before withdrawing from the race.

In 1978, Shirley Chisolm married New York Assemblyman, Arthur Hardwick, Jr. In 1982 she declined to run for re-election to the house and retired to private life moving to the home of her husband in Williamsville, New York, a Buffalo suburb. Chisholm was named to the Purington Chair Professorship at Mount Holyoke College (1983-1987) and was a Visiting Professor at Spelman College (1985).

Arthur Hardwick died in 1986. Shirley Chisholm died January 1, 2005 and is buried in Buffalo next to her husband. She had no children.

A quote:

When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom profit that loses.


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