The July 24 Democratic Convention special section article “The women who blazed a long, frustrating trail in politics,” a thoughtful overview of the political history of trailblazers leading up to last week’s historic nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic contender for president, failed to include an important link: Shirley Chisholm for president in 1972.
In 1968, Shirley Chisholm became the first African American woman elected to the House, where she represented Brooklyn. Four years later, she dared to run for the highest elected office in the country. As both the first woman and the first African American to mount a serious presidential campaign, Chisholm received 152 votes at the Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach. No doubt, her bold and groundbreaking action paved the road traveled by others, including Jesse Jackson, President Obama, Clinton and some of the women highlighted in the article: Geraldine Ferraro, Patricia Schroeder, Nancy Pelosi, Sarah Palin and Carol Moseley Braun.
Chisholm inspired women to become involved in politics, especially when she co-founded the National Political Congress of Black Women in 1984 (now the National Congress of Black Women), with a young Donna Brazile as its executive director. Chisholm’s fingerprints are all over today’s political landscape, and we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge her crucial role in laying the groundwork for today’s talented, diverse pool of Democratic candidates and Clinton’s victory at this year’s Democratic convention.
Jennifer Tucker, Washington
The writer is chair of the board of directors of the
Fund for Leadership, Equity, Access and Diversity.