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Shirley Chisholm and Martin Luther King Jr Day

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day yesterday, we take a look at Shirley Chisholm, whose accomplishments are partially thanks to the activist man MLK was.

Chisholm became the first African American congresswoman in 1968. Chisholm represented New York in the House of Representatives for a total of seven terms.

Chisholm was originally assigned to the House Forestry Committee but demanded a reassignment. She was placed on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and then later went on to serve on the Education and Labor Committee.

Chisholm became one of the founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1969.

Four years after her first run as congresswoman, on January 25, 1972 (47 years ago today), she ran as the first black cadidate in any major party for President.

“I am not the candidate of black America, although I am black and proud,” she said. “I am not the candidate of the women’s movement of this country, although I am a woman and i am equally proud of that. I am the candidate of the people, and my presence before you now symbolizes a new era in American political history.”

Throughout her career, Chisholm fought for educational and social rights, such as employment opportunities for minorities.

After leaving Congress in 1983, Chisholm taught at Mount Holyoke College. She was also later inducted inot the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Chisholm died on January 1, 2005 at the age of 80.

Monica Sager is a freelance writer from Clark University, where she is pursuing a double major in psychology and self-designed journalism with a minor in English. She wants to become an investigative journalist to combat and highlight humanitarian issues. Monica has previously been published in The Pottstown Mercury, The Week UK, Worcester Telegram and Gazette and even The Boston Globe. Read more of Monica’s previous work on her Twitter @MonicaSager3.
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