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Learn & Unlearn: Anti-racism Resource Guide

Lesson 2: Black HER-itage: Shirley Chisholm and Kamala Harris

Original post on @saic.maffairs posted 2/2/21.

Black HER-itage Icon: Shirley Chisholm

Black and white image of Shirley ChisholmShirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm is the first African American woman in Congress (1968) and the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties (1972) but that wasn't her only accomplishment. Born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 30, 1924, Chisholm was the oldest of four daughters to immigrant parents Charles St. Hill, a factory worker from Guyana, and Ruby Seale St. Hill, a seamstress from Barbados.1 A graduate of Brooklyn Girls’ High and Brooklyn College, Shirley earned her master’s degree in elementary education from Columbia University’s Teachers College. Chisholm’s political career launched when she campaigned for Lewis Flagg Jr. in 1953 to become Brooklyn’s first Black judge. Chisholm served in the NY State Assembly from 1965 to 1968 and from there was the First Black Woman Elected to Congress.2 She would become the inspiration for future generations of women in government and in leadership

Quote

“I am not the candidate of black America, although I am black and proud; I am not the candidate of the women's movement of this country, although I am a woman and I am equally proud of that. I am the candidate of the people of America. And my presence before you now symbolizes a new era in American political history.” - Shirley Chisholm

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  • Chisholm '72 - Unbought and Unbossed,” Shola Lynch, Women Make Movies [Documentary, trailer and clip below]

Black HER-itage today: Kamala Harris

Headshot of Kamala Harris.Kamala D. Harris is the first woman, the first Black American, and the first South Asian American to be elected Vice President of the United States of America. Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, California to parents who emigrated from India and Jamaica. A graduate of Howard University and the Hastings College of Law at the University of California,3 Kamala became the first Black woman to be elected district attorney of San Francisco, and first woman, first Black and South Asian American to serve as California's attorney general.4 While she may be the first woman to hold office in many places in her words "I won't be the last."Fun fact: her presidential campaign colors: yellow, red and blue were a homage to the campaign of Shirley Chisholm.

Quote

“At every step of the way, I’ve been guided by the words I spoke from the first time I stood in a courtroom: Kamala Harris, for the people.” - Kamala Harris, August 19, 2020

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Sources

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Works Cited

  1. Debra Michals, “Shirley Chisholm,” National Women’s History Museum, 2015.
  2. Nadra Kareem Nittle, “Shirley Chisholm: Facts About Her Trailblazing Career”, History, Jan 21 2021.
  3. The White House, “Kamala Harris,” accessed Jan 26, 2021.
  4. Tessa Weinberg and Sruthi Palaniappan, “Kamala Harris: Everything you need to know about the new vice president,” ABC News, Jan 20, 2021.