Shirley Chisholm

Born: 30th November 1924

Died: 1st January 2005

Birth Place: United States

Known for: Being a politician, educator, and activist.

Chisholm was the first Black woman to win a seat in the U.S. Congress.

She was the first Black woman to seek a nomination for presidency.

She was the first Black woman to sit on the House Rules Committee.

I wanted to be remembered as a woman who dared be a catalyst of change.

Shirley Chisholm

Life story


Early life


Shirley Chisholm was the eldest daughter of parents who had moved from Guyana and Barbados to the United States. She graduated Brooklyn Girls’ High in 1942. A talented student and a bright young mind, she won prizes on the debate team from Brooklyn College in 1949.


Chisholm’s career


Chisholm worked at a nursery school as a teacher when she left college. She also earned a master’s degree from Columbia University in 1951. By 1960, Chisholm gave advice to New York City Day Care. She was always aware of the way that women and Black people were treated differently to men and white people. She joined the League of Women Voters and the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP). She also joined the Urban League, and the Democratic Party club in Brooklyn, New York.


Breaking boundaries


In 1964, Chisholm became the second African American woman to win a seat in the New York State Legislature. By 1968, she became the first African American woman to win a seat in Congress. In Congress, she brought in more than fifty new laws and fought for women’s and Black people’s rights. In 1977, Chisholm became the first Black woman and second woman to sit on the powerful House Rules Committee in Congress.


Chisholm faced lots of discrimination as a Black person and a woman during her political career. However, she was very popular with women who voted, and she was very successful at creating change. Chisholm retired from Congress in 1983, and taught at Mount Holyoke College. She also started the National Political Congress of Black Women.


Chisholm’s nickname was ‘Fighting Shirley’.

What team did Shirley Chisholm win prizes on at Brooklyn College in 1949? Which organisations did Shirley Chisholm join in the 1960s? What did Shirley Chisholm fight for while she was in Congress?

Note: This site is for optimised for Chrome, Edge and Firefox browsers only and some games are not compatible to all devices.

Keep exploring!