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THE BLACK CAUCUS

The Honorable
SHIRLEY CHISHOLM

12th Cong. Dist., New York

[[image - black and white photograph of Shirley Chisholm speaking behind an array of microphones]]

The Honorable Shirley Chisholm, first Black Congresswoman in the United States, has firmly established herself as the "Fighting Shirley Chisholm."

Elected to the 91st Congress, her constituency is the Twelfth New York Congressional District, whose center is Brooklyn's impoverished Bedford-Stuyvestant ghetto, and also includes parts of Bushwick, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and the more prosperous Crown Heights. Blacks and Puerto Ricans compose about 92% of the population.

Mrs. Chisholm is a specialist in early childhood education and child welfare who entered politics more or less by public demand in 1964 when she ran successfully for the New York State Assembly on the Democratic ticket. An articulate straightforward champion of the rights of disadvantaged Blacks and Puerto Ricans and of women, she derives her power from "the people," as she has often pointed out, rather than from the regular party organization. Her close identity with her community won her an upset victory over the Republican Liberal candidate in 1968. She campaigned under the slogan, "UNBOUGHT AND UNBOSSED," the title of her recently published autobiography. Now several years later she is being heard by that slogan across the land. Her determination and courage, along with intelligent reason, declare her a leader, as evidenced by her meteoric rise from clubhouse worker to a Representative in the United States Congress.

A native of her Congressional District, Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm, the oldest of four girls, was born on November 30, 1924. After graduation from Girls High School in Brooklyn, she went on to obtain a B.A., cum laude, from Brooklyn College. She earned both an M.A. in education and a diploma in Administration and Supervision from Columbia University. She writes and speaks Spanish fluently, which has been a tremedous asset in developing the wonderful rapport she enjoys with her Spanish-speaking constituents.

As a school teacher and director of a day nursery, Mrs. Chisholm became deeply involved in all aspects of day care and education for children. In time her responsibilities included planning for community facilities programs and in-service training, it was during her early years in this environment and working in the background on the political circuit that she met her husband, Conrad G. Chisholm, whom she married in 1949, and who has given her much encouragement and practical help in her campaigns and Congressional duties.

Mrs. Chisholm's entrance as a freshman to the 91st Congress made her known as a woman with "true grit" and a mind of her own. She was assigned to the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Forestry and Rural Villages, which she felt had no relation to the needs and problems of her Congressional District in New York City. The Speaker of the House admonished her "to accept and be a good soldier." Right then she decided, "That's why the country is the way it is." She made the unprecedented move of placing an amendment to remove her name from this Committee. She was then assigned to the Veterans Affairs Committee, which had some relevancy to her constituency.  When the 92nd Congress convened Mrs. Chisholm was assigned to the House Education and Labor Committee, which is her main field of concentration and interest.  She serves on the Select Education, General Education and Agricultural Labor Subcommittees. The Congresswoman is also Chairman of the Military Affairs Committee of the Congressional Black Caucus.

A few of Mrs. Chisholm's numerous affiliations are: the Brooklyn College Alumni; League of Women Voters; Democratic Women's Workshop; Brooklyn Branch NAACP; Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Home for the Aged; National Association of College Women; Key Women, Inc.; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council; National Advisory Council for the Institute for Studies in Education, University of Notre Dame; Washington Workshops National Advisory Committee; National Board of the Americans for Democratic Action; Honorary Board of Cosmopolitan Young Peoples Symphony Orchestra, Inc., New York City; Advisory Board, Foundation for Research and Education in Sickle Cell Disease.

Transcription Notes:
fixed a few typos in the transcription. Should transcript match original exactly? for example "tremedous" is in written in the original transcript but was corrected to "tremendous". I restored it back to original writing.

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