Shirley Chisholm's legacy celebrated in new NYC exhibit

Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Shirley Chisholm's legacy celebrated in new exhibit
Kemberly Richardson has more.

EAST HARLEM, New York City (WABC) -- The world had never witnessed anything like it - a Black woman announcing her run for President of the United States on a major party ticket.

Shirley Chisholm did just that inside a Baptist church in Brooklyn on January 25th 1972

A visionary in every sense of the word, Chisholm wasn't afraid to stir people up.

Her most prized political slogan - "unbought and unbossed."

"I think what gravitates people to Chisholm more than anything else if her integrity and her ability as she would say, to tell it like it really is," Zinga Fraser said.

Dr. Zinga Fraser is the Co-Curator of a new first-of-its-kind tribute to Shirley Chisholm at the Museum of the City of New York.

'Changing The Face of Democracy' uses her early years in Brooklyn and Barbados as a jumping-off point to what would be a long, history-making political career.

"She seems so exceptional, so intelligent, such a great speaker, so communicative but that she's also so accessible, that we shouldn't make her so exceptional," Sarah Seidman, co-curator, said.

The opening is timed as we approach what would have been Chisholm's 100th birthday.

Born November 30th 1924 in Brooklyn, she went to high school in Bed-Sty and graduated from Brooklyn College.

It wasn't until 1953, that she got her first taste of politics and never looked back.

In 1968, Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress and 4 years later launched that run for the white house.

While she didn't win the nomination, she set in motion a ball that is still moving today.

"She's one of the first members who talks about abortion rights, she's advocating for a 24-hour daycare center. She's saying we need to think about government as a way to help the majority of the people, marginalized people who really are unheard and unseen," Zinga said.

Original writings and recordings give you a window into her world.

Chisholm vowed to be controversial till the day she died. In 2005 she passed away. She was 80 years old.

At one point, reflecting on her life, she expressed this:

"I don't need to be remembered as the first Black woman in Congress but that she identifies as a person seeking change in the 20th century," Seidman said.

'Changing the Face of Democracy' opens at the Museum of the City of New York on June 14 and runs through July 20.

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