Shirley Chisholm was born in Brooklyn in 1924 and spent her childhood living with her grandmother in Barbados.
Chisholm’s first career was in early childhood education, where she saw firsthand how politics influenced child welfare policies.
In 1968, Chisholm became the first black woman elected to Congress. During her years in state government and in Congress, she was an outspoken advocate for children, women and people of color. She was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. In Congress, she quickly became known as a strong liberal who opposed weapons development and the war in Vietnam and favored full-employment proposals. She ran for President — the first African American to seek a major party’s nomination. As a candidate for the Democratic nomination for U.S. president in 1972, she won 152 delegates before withdrawing from the race.
Chisholm’s 1970 autobiography was titled Unbought and Unbossed. She died in 2005 and was posthumously honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.