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Shirley Anita St. Hill ChisholmShirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was born on November 30, 1924 in Brooklyn, New York. At age three Chisholm was sent to Barbados to live with her maternal grandmother where she attended the Vauxhall Primary School. She did not return to New York until roughly seven years later. Chisholm graduated from the Girls’ High School, earned her BA from Brooklyn College in 1946 and later earned her MA from Teachers College at Columbia University in elementary education in 1952. In 1964, Chisholm ran for and was elected to the New York State Legislature. In 1968, she ran as the Democratic candidate for New York’s 12th District congressional seat and was elected to the House of Representatives thus becoming the first Black woman elected to Congress.

Chisholm joined the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971 as one of its founding members. On January 25, 1972, she became the first major-party black candidate for President of the United States and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Chisholm created controversy when she visited rival and ideological opposite George Wallace in the hospital soon after his shooting in May 1972, during the 1972 presidential primary campaign. Several years later, when Chisholm worked on a bill to give domestic workers the right to a minimum wage, Wallace helped gain votes of enough Southern congressmen to push the legislation through the House.

She survived three assassination attempts during the campaign. She campaigned in 12 states and won the Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Jersey primaries earning 152 delegates. Chisholm said she ran for the office “in spite of hopeless odds… to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo.” Chisholm retired from Congress in 1982. After retirement she resumed her career in education, teaching politics and women’s studies. In 1993, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2014, the Shirley Chisholm Forever Stamp was issued.