Shirley Chisholm Unisex T-Shirt

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Shirley Chisholm Unisex T-Shirt

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Finally, a way to show your respect for some of the greatest icons, legends and pioneers that paved the way past and present. Rock this gear in style and bring back the moments that made you, memories they gave you and/or lessons they taught you. Scroll down for a history lesson with some of our favorite clips.

Welcome to the Respect Due family the Shirley Chisholm! We salute you.

Features:

  • 4.2 oz., 100% airlume combed and ringspun cotton
  • retail fit
  • unisex sizing
  • shoulder taping
  • side-seamed
  • pre-shrunk
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Description

Shirley Chisholm : The First Black Congresswoman

 

Shirley Anita Chisholm (née St. Hill; November 30, 1924 – January 1, 2005) was an American politician, educator, and author. In 1968, she became the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress, representing New York’s 12th congressional district for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In the 1972 United States presidential election, she became the first African-American candidate for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party‘s presidential nomination.

Born in Brooklyn, Chisolm studied and worked in early childhood education, becoming involved in local Democratic party politics in the 1950s. In 1964, overcoming some resistance because she was a woman, she was elected to the New York State Assembly. Four years later she was elected to Congress, where she led expansion of food and nutrition programs for the poor and rose to party leadership. She retired from Congress in 1983 and taught at Mt Holyoke College, while continuing her political organizing. Although nominated for an ambassadorship in 1993, health issues caused her to withdraw. In 2015, Chisholm was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 

Shirley Chisholm: ‘Unbought and unbossed’ – Women’s Rights in the United States Series

Congress

Initial election

In 1968 she ran for the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 12th congressional district, which as part of a court-mandated reapportionment plan had been significantly redrawn to focus on Bedford-Stuyvesant and was thus expected to result in Brooklyn’s first Black member of Congress. (Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. had, in 1945, become the first Black member of Congress from New York City as a whole.) As a result of the redrawing, the White incumbent in the former 12th, Representative Edna F. Kelly, sought re-election in a different district. Chisholm announced her candidacy around January 1968 and established some early organizational support. Her campaign slogan was “Unbought and unbossed”. In the June 18, 1968, Democratic primary, Chisholm defeated two other Black opponents, State Senator William S. Thompson and labor official Dollie Robertson. In the general election, she staged an upset victory over James Farmer, the former director of the Congress of Racial Equality who was running as a Liberal Party candidate with Republican support, winning by an approximately two-to-one margin. Chisholm thereby became the first Black woman elected to Congress, and was the only woman in the freshman class that year.

Early terms

Chisholm was assigned to the House Agriculture Committee. Given her urban district, she felt the placement was irrelevant to her constituents. When Chisholm confided to Rebbe Menachem M. Schneerson that she was upset and insulted by her assignment, Schneerson suggested that she use the surplus food to help the poor and hungry. Chisholm subsequently met Robert Dole, and worked to expand the food stamp program. She later played a critical role in the creation of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. Chisholm would credit Schneerson for the fact that so many “poor babies [now] have milk and poor children have food”. Chisholm was then also placed on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Soon after, she voted for Hale Boggs as House Majority Leader over John Conyers. As a reward for her support, Boggs assigned her to the much-prized Education and Labor Committee, which was her preferred committee. She was the third highest-ranking member of this committee when she retired from Congress.

Chisholm only hired women for her office; half of them were Black. Chisholm said that she had faced much more discrimination during her New York legislative career because she was a woman than because of her race.

Chisholm (seated, second from right) with fellow founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971

Chisholm joined the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971 as one of its founding members. In the same year, she was also a founding member of the National Women’s Political Caucus.

In May 1971 she, along with fellow New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug, introduced a bill to provide $10 billion in federal funds for child care services by 1975. A less expensive version introduced by Senator Walter Mondale eventually passed the House and Senate as the Comprehensive Child Development Bill, but was vetoed by President Richard Nixon in December 1971, who said it was too expensive and would undermine the institution of the family.

Later terms

Chisholm created controversy when she visited rival and ideological opposite George Wallace in the hospital soon after his shooting in May 1972, during the presidential primary campaign. Several years later, when Chisholm worked on a bill to give domestic workers the right to a minimum wage, Wallace helped gain votes of enough Southern congressmen to push the legislation through the House.

From 1977 to 1981, during the 95th Congress and 96th Congress, Chisholm was elected to a position in the House Democratic leadership, as Secretary of the House Democratic Caucus.

Throughout her tenure in Congress, Chisholm worked to improve opportunities for inner-city residents. She was a vocal opponent of the draft and supported spending increases for education, health care and other social services, and reductions in military spending.

In the area of national security and foreign policy, Chisholm worked for the revocation of Internal Security Act of 1950. She opposed the American involvement in the Vietnam War and the expansion of weapon developments. During the Jimmy Carter administration, she called for better treatment of Haitian refugees.

Chisholm’s first marriage ended in divorce in February 1977. Later that year she married Arthur Hardwick, Jr., a former New York State Assemblyman whom Chisholm had known when they both served in that body and who was now a Buffalo liquor store owner. Chisholm had no children.

Hardwick was subsequently injured in an automobile accident; desiring to take care of him, and also dissatisfied with the course of liberal politics in the wake of the Reagan Revolution, she announced her retirement from Congress in 1982. Hardwick died in 1986.

1972 presidential campaign

Chisholm began exploring her candidacy in July 1971, and formally announced her presidential bid on January 25, 1972, in a Baptist church in her district in Brooklyn. There she called for a “bloodless revolution” at the forthcoming Democratic nomination convention. Chisholm became the first Black major-party candidate to run for President of the United States, in the 1972 U.S. presidential election, making her also the first woman ever to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination (U.S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith had previously run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1964). In her presidential announcement, Chisholm described herself as representative of the people and offered a new articulation of American identity: “I am not the candidate of black America, although I am black and proud. I am not the candidate of the women’s movement of this country, although I am a woman and equally proud of that. I am the candidate of the people and my presence before you symbolizes a new era in American political history.”

Her campaign was underfunded, only spending $300,000 in total. She also struggled to be regarded as a serious candidate instead of as a symbolic political figure; she was ignored by much of the Democratic political establishment and received little support from her Black male colleagues. She later said, “When I ran for the Congress, when I ran for president, I met more discrimination as a woman than for being black. Men are men.” In particular, she expressed frustration about the “black matriarch thing”, saying, “They think I am trying to take power from them. The black man must step forward, but that doesn’t mean the black woman must step back.” Her husband, however, was fully supportive of her candidacy and said, “I have no hangups about a woman running for president.” Security was also a concern, as during the campaign three confirmed threats were made against her life; Conrad Chisholm served as her bodyguard until U.S. Secret Service protection was given to her in May 1972.

Chisholm skipped the initial March 7 New Hampshire contest, instead focusing on the March 14 Florida primary, which she thought would be receptive due to its “blacks, youth, and a strong women’s movement”. But due to organizational difficulties and Congressional responsibilities, she only made two campaign trips there and ended with 3.5 percent of the vote for a seventh-place finish. Chisholm had difficulties gaining ballot access, but campaigned or received votes in primaries in fourteen states. Her largest number of votes came in the June 6 California primary, where she received 157,435 votes for 4.4 percent and a fourth-place finish, while her best percentage in a competitive primary came in the May 6 North Carolina one, where she got 7.5 percent for a third-place finish. Overall, she won 28 delegates during the primaries process itself. Chisholm’s base of support was ethnically diverse and included the National Organization for WomenBetty Friedan and Gloria Steinem attempted to run as Chisholm delegates in New York. Altogether during the primary season, she received 430,703 votes, which was 2.7 percent of the total of nearly 16 million cast and represented seventh place among the Democratic contenders. In June, Chisholm became the first woman to appear in a United States presidential debate.

At the 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida, there were still efforts taking place by the campaign of former Vice President Hubert Humphrey to stop the nomination of Senator George McGovern. After that failed and McGovern’s nomination was assured, as a symbolic gesture, Humphrey released his Black delegates to Chisholm. This, combined with defections from disenchanted delegates from other candidates, as well as the delegates she had won in the primaries, gave her a total of 152 first-ballot votes for the nomination during the July 12 roll call. (Her precise total was 151.95.) Her largest support overall came from Ohio, with 23 delegates (slightly more than half of them White), even though she had not been on the ballot in the May 2 primary there. Her total gave her fourth place in the roll call tally, behind McGovern’s winning total of 1,728 delegates. Chisholm said she ran for the office “in spite of hopeless odds … to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo”.

It is sometimes stated that Chisholm won a primary in 1972, or won three states overall, with New Jersey, Louisiana, and Mississippi being so identified. None of these fit the usual definition of winning a plurality of the contested popular vote or delegate allocations at the time of a state primary, caucus, or state convention. In the June 6 New Jersey primary, there was a complex ballot that featured both a delegate selection vote and a non-binding, non-delegate-producing “beauty contest” presidential preference vote. Only Chisholm and former governor of North Carolina Terry Sanford were on the statewide preference ballot. Sanford had withdrawn from the contest three weeks earlier. Chisholm received the majority of votes in the non-binding statewide contest: 51,433, which was 66.9 percent. During the actual balloting at the national convention, Chisholm received votes from only 4 of New Jersey’s 109 delegates, with 89 going to McGovern.

In the May 13 Louisiana caucuses, there was a battle between forces of McGovern and Governor George Wallace; nearly all of the delegates chosen were those who identified as uncommitted, many of them Black. Leading up to the convention, McGovern was thought to control 20 of Louisiana’s 44 delegates, with most of the rest uncommitted. During the actual roll call at the national convention, Louisiana passed at first, then cast 18.5 of its 44 votes for Chisholm, with the next best finishers being McGovern and Senator Henry M. Jackson with 10.25 each. As one delegate explained, “Our strategy was to give Shirley our votes for sentimental reasons on the first ballot. However, if our votes would have made the difference, we would have gone with McGovern.” In Mississippi, there were two rival party factions that each selected delegates at their own state conventions and caucuses: “regulars”, representing the mostly-white state Democratic Party, and “loyalists”, representing many Blacks and White liberals. Each slate professed to be largely uncommitted, but the regulars were thought to favor Wallace and the loyalists McGovern. By the time of the national convention, the loyalists were seated following a credentials challenge, and their delegates were characterized as mostly supporting McGovern, with some support for Humphrey. During the convention, some McGovern delegates became angry about what they saw as statements from McGovern that backed away from his commitment to end U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia, and cast protest votes for Chisholm as a result. During the actual balloting, Mississippi went in the first half of the roll call, and cast 12 of its 25 votes for Chisholm, with McGovern coming next with 10 votes.

During the campaign, the German filmmaker Peter Lilienthal shot the documentary film Shirley Chisholm for President for the German television channel ZDF.

Shirley Chisholm Had Guts | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

 

Shirley Chisholm speaking at UCLA 5/22/1972

 

Shirley Chisholm: The Woman That Changed the American Mindset

3001 Sizing Chart

UNISEX FIT & SIZE CHART

SIZEFITS CHESTLENGTH
XS34"27"
S36"28"
M40"29"
L44"30"
XL48"31"
2X52"32"
3X56"33"
4X62"34"
5x66"35"

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