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CONGRESSWOMAN SHIRLEY CHISHOLM New York - 12th District Shirley Chisholm is the senior Democratic woman in the United States House of Representatives. She is the only woman, and the only Black American, to sit on the powerful House Rules Committee, and she is a leading member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 30, 1924, Shirley Chisholm spent her early childhood on the island of Barbados, in the West Indies. She credits a stable family life, strict discipline, and an educational milieu where excellence was demanded, for her early achievements. Mrs. Chisholm was first elected to the 91st Congress in 1968. Her constituency is the 12th Congressional District in the borough of Brooklyn. The center of her district is Bedford-Stuyvesant, and it also includes parts of Bushwick, Brownsville, East New York, and Greenpoint. Blacks and Puerto Ricans comprise more than 85% of the population. The rest are Jewish, Polish, Ukrainian and Italian. No other Congressional district is so diversified in its constituents. Representative Chisholm is a specialist in early childhood education and child welfare who entered public service 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 the downtrodden, she derives her power from "the people" as she often points out. After graduation from Girls High School in Broklyn, she went on to earn a B.A. degree (cum laude), both an M.A. in education and diploma in administration from Columbia University, and has been awarded honorary degrees from many prestigious colleges and universities. She writes and speaks fluent Spanish which has been a tremendous 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 and in-service training. When Mrs. Chisholm entered the 91st Congress as a freshman in 1969, she established herself as a force to be reckoned with. She was assigned to the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Forestry and Rural Villages, which she knew had no relation to the need and problems of her district. Admonished by the Speaker of the House to "be a good soldier", she made the unprecedented move of placing an amendment before the House to remove her name from the committee assignment. She prevailed and was then granted a seat on the Veteran's Affairs Committee which had some relevancy to her constituency. Continued on page 282 [[image]] CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS MEMBERS 98TH CONGRESS Hon. Julian C. Dixon, Chairman Democrat (28th District-CA) Hon. Mickey Leland Vice Chairman for Administration Democrat (18th District-TX) Hon. William H. Gray, III Vice Chairman for Legislation Democrat (2nd District-PA) Hon. Harold Washington, Treasurer Democrat (1st District-IL) Hon. Ed Towns, Secretary Democrat (11th District-NY) Hon. William L. Clay Democrat (1st District-MO) Hon. Cardiss Collins Democrat (7th District-IL) 280
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