13 Facts About The First Woman to Run for the Democratic Presidential Nomination (Hint: It’s Not Hillary!)

There would have been no Hillary Clinton OR Barack Obama without Shirley Chisholm. Here are 12 facts you should know about this often overlooked pioneer!

Long before Hillary Clinton made her first run for the Democratic nomination in 2008, Shirley Chisholm made waves as the first woman to run for the Democratic Party nomination and the first African American to be placed on the ballot.  There would have been no Hillary Clinton OR Barack Obama without Shirley Chisholm.

Here are 13 facts you should know about this often overlooked pioneer!

1. She was the child of immigrants.

Born Shirley Anita St. Hill in Brooklyn, New York in 1924, the future trailblazer was the child of immigrants. Her mother was born in Barbados and her father was born in British Guiana (now known as Guyana).  When she was five, she was sent to live with her grandmother in Barbados and did not return until she was almost ten. She spoke with a subtle West Indian accent.

2. She was a member of Delta Sigma Theta.

Chisholm pledged Delta Sigma Theta sorority while attending Brooklyn College to attain her Bachelor of Arts. She later received her MA in Elementary Education from Columbia University.

3. She is a former day care center director.

Before entering politics, Chisholm was a day care center director in Brownsville, Brooklyn and later, lower Manhattan.  She was a known expert in areas of early childhood education and child welfare.

4. She was the 2nd African American woman elected to the New York State Legislature.

In 1965, she became only the 2nd African American woman elected to the New York State Legislature.  While serving, she introduced the “SEEK program (Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge) to the state, which provided disadvantaged students the chance to enter college while receiving intensive remedial education.”

5. She was the 1st African American Congresswoman.

In 1968, Shirley Chisholm made history by becoming the first African American congresswoman in the United States. She served seven terms in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood of her hometown Brooklyn, New York.  

6. She was “Unbought and Unbossed.

While running for Congress, her campaign slogan was “Unbought and Unbossed” which was also the title of her autobiography published in 1970.

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7. She helped found the Congressional Black Caucus.

Chisholm was one of the founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus (so named in 1970).  Her mission: “to seize the moment, to fight for justice, to raise issues too long ignored and too little debated.” 

8. She fought for children and their families.

Her fight for children and their families continued while she was in Congress. She fought for a national school lunch bill, she worked to expand the food stamps program, and was instrumental in establishing The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (Wic), which provided support for pregnant women.

9. She was the first woman to run for the Democratic party nomination and the first African American to be placed on the ballot!

In 1972, Shirley Chisholm announced her campaign for presidency become the first woman to run for the Democratic party nomination and the first African American to be placed on the ballot! She ultimately lost to the nomination to Senator George McGovern of South Dakota and the national election to Republican nominee Richard Nixon, a Senator from California (yikes, we all know how that turned out).

10. She visited George Wallace after he was almost assassinated.

She lost some of her support due to her relationship with segregationist George Wallace.  After visiting him at the hospital following the attempt on his life in 1972: “Black people in my community crucified me,” she said. “But why shouldn’t I go to visit him? Every other presidential candidate was going to see him. He said to me: ‘What are your people going to say?’ I said: ‘I know what they’re going to say. But I wouldn’t want what happened to you to happen to anyone.’ He cried and cried and cried.”

11. She remained active in politics after she left Congress.

She remained politically active after leaving Congress.  Shirley Chisholm left congress in January of 1983 and became a professor teaching at Mt. Holyoke College.  Yet, she made time to found the National Political Congress of Black Women.  She also campaigned for Jesse Jackson’s presidential bids in 1984 and 1988.  She spoke throughout the country about her amazing career and expertise on issues of race, gender, and politics.   

12. She is a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.

Shirley Chisholm was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 by President Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States.  In giving the award President Obama said: 

“There are people in our country’s history who don’t look left or right – they just look straight ahead. Shirley Chisholm was one of those people.”

13. A biopic about her life is in the works.

In 2016, it was announced Tony Award winning actress Anika Noni Rose will star in and produce a film about Shirley Chisholm’s amazing legacy!

*Note: An earlier edition of this article stated that Chisholm was the first African American to run for President. While she was, in fact, the first African American to be listed on the ballot, there were a number of African American candidates who ran before her.

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About The Authors

Faye McCray is anMcCray_AuthorPhoto (1) attorney by day and writer all the time. Her work has been featured on My Brown Baby, AfroPunk, AfroNews, For HarrietMadame NoireBlack Girl NerdsBlack and Married with Kids, and other popular publications.  Faye also has a number of short stories and a full length novel available for purchase on Amazon.  Most importantly, Faye is a proud wife and mother to three beautiful and talented young boys who she is fiercely passionate about raising.

 

Rick McCray is a maRAMrried father of three amazing sons. He is also a proud graduate of Duke University where he holds a BA in History and African/African American History, and Howard University School of Law. He is a regular commentator on the In The Black podcast.  Rick is passionate about our history and helping to educate our community concerning the great contributions of people of color to the world. You can find Rick on Twitter @RealRickMcCray.

6 Awesome Kids Making a Difference in Their Communities

Here are some real examples of children giving back to their communities in big ways!

Let’s face it, sometimes it’s difficult to even get our kids to share. As parents, empathy and altruism are some of the hardest lessons to teach.  However, those traits are essential to becoming a well-rounded adult. Here are some real examples of children giving back to their communities in big ways! Good job, Moms and Dads!

1. Khloe Thompson

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At just 9 years old, Khloe Thompson launched, Khloe Kares, a charity initiative to hand out bags filled with important items to give to homeless women.

“I would pass the same homeless people all the time on my way to school,” Khloe explained to Upworthy. “And I would ask my mom, ‘What can I do to help?'” 

According to her website, “Khloe’s Kare Bags… are made and designed by Khloe and her grandma. The purpose of the Kare bags is to fill the bags up with items we use on a daily basis and give them to homeless women on the streets. Items include; soap, lotion, tooth brush and tooth paste, feminine products, socks etc. Instead of giving these items in a large plastic bag Khloe thought every women should have a nice sturdy bag to put their stuff in.”

Kudos to Khloe and her mom to putting a plan into action!

2. Jahkil Naeem Jackson 

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Like Khloe, 8 year old Jahkil Jackson also felt a need to do something about his town’s homeless population.

“It just made me feel sad, sad to see other people on the street just lying down and not having a home or a bed,” the now 8-year-old said. “Homeless people need to have more people helping them.”

With the help of his family, Jahkil set a goal to hand out 1,000 “Blessing Bags” to the homeless before the end of summer. As of August, Jahkil had passed out 735 bags filled with toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, combs, shampoo, water, sanitary napkins, towels and other items donated to him by others in the community and organizations.

Great work, Jahkil!

3. Robbie Novak

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Also known as Kid President, Robbie Novack, now 12 years old, is the adorable little powerhouse actor behind a series of YouTube videos and in a television show, produced by Soul Pancake. Robbie delivers positive and inspirational messages to his viewers that are sure to brighten your day. Though you would’t know it by his positive attitude, according to Wikipedia, Robbie “suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, which makes him susceptible to bone damage. He has experienced over 70 fractures and has been a victim of bullying.”

Way to go, Robbie, for succeeding in spite of immeasurable setbacks!

4. Egypt “Ify” Ufele

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According to her website, at a young age, Ify was diagnosed with a critical asthmatic health condition that impacted her weight and appearance.  Although she overcame the illness, when she returned to school, she was bullied mercilessly by some of her peers.  In response, Ify and her amazing mom began Bully Chasers, an organization that supports youth who have been bullied and gives them a platform to speak out against it.  Ify didn’t just stop there! With the help of her grandmother, Ify launched her own line of clothing, called Chubiiline, and has since become a trailblazer as possibly the only child designer to dress plus-size models at one of the world’s most prestigious fashion shows.
Amazing work, Ify.

5. Quenten McGee

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Quentin made a seemingly simple decision to mow lawns of people in need.

“I feel good about helping people out that really can’t help themselves,” Quentin said.

In just two months, he’s mowed 36 lawns. Quentin’s small act of kindness gained the attention of the Marion, Ohio Police Department, the mayor, and people across the country.

Keep up the great work, Quentin!

6. Morgan McCane

Morgan

Morgan McCane was just an average teenager girl who was tired of seeing teenage boys with their pants hanging down.  But Morgan decided to do something about it! The 15-year-old teenager started Girls Against Boys Sagging (GABS).

According to the GABS Facebook page, “the founders and supports of GABS are dedicated to educating, encouraging, and inspiring girls and women of all ages, all over the country, to use their voices to challenge their friends and family members that “sag,” to pull up their pants.”

“I feel like women are the biggest influence on our young boys. If women could get voting rights, why can’t they help make boys pull up their pants? I met some girls that do like the boys sagging, but some of the other girls I met say, they’re too scared to take a stand.”

Awesome job, Morgan!

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About The Author

Faye McCray is anMcCray_AuthorPhoto (1) attorney by day and writer all the time. Her work has been featured on My Brown Baby, AfroPunk, AfroNews, For HarrietMadame NoireBlack Girl NerdsBlack and Married with Kids, and other popular publications.  Faye also has a number of short stories and a full length novel available for purchase on Amazon.  Most importantly, Faye is a proud wife and mother to three beautiful and talented young boys who she is fiercely passionate about raising.

7 Ways to Teach Your Children to See Their Beauty

How to encourage your children to love and appreciate their inner and outer beauty.

by Faye McCray

It’s summertime and if your children are anything like mine, they have been browning like little turkeys in the sun. Each day, my children come inside a shade darker, and I can’t resist kissing their sweaty sun-kissed faces and marveling at how breathtakingly beautiful they are.  As the school year resumes and they are thrust back into a regimented routine, I want to be sure they are armed with the tools necessary to counteract any negativity they may feel from the outside world.

Here are a few tips on teaching your children to see their own beauty:

1. Surround them with positive images of themselves.

Whether it is artwork, television shows, books, action figures or dolls, make sure the images your introduce your child to are healthy and positive. Whether it’s reality shows or the evening news, our children see enough negative versions of themselves.  Counteract the negativity by surrounding them with positivity.  Find books that feature heroes and heroines of color. Buy them dolls that look like them.  Allow them the opportunity to see themselves for that they can be.

2. Celebrate what is unique about them.

As a woman, I stand a little over 6ft tall.  I was always tall for my age and at certain points in my life, I wanted desperately to blend in with everyone else. The kindest thing someone ever said to me was “When you grow up, you will love being tall. You will command every room you walk into.” I didn’t know if was true then but I stood a little taller and prouder just in case it was. Whether freckles, chubby cheeks or big feet, find the positive in things that are unique about your child.  Celebrate it and they will too.

3. Celebrate your own beauty.

I had a childhood friend whose father used to drill into our heads to “Do as I say, not as I do.”  Even as a kid, I didn’t buy it.  The thing is, children are always watching you. They watch more than they listen.  If they see you gazing at yourself in the mirror and criticizing your broad nose or tightly curled hair, what do you think they will think about themselves when they look in the mirror and see those same features? It may not always be easy, but celebrate your own beauty and allow your child to witness it.

4. Teach them the history of their people.

The history of people of color in this country is rich and diverse.  Teach them about our scientists, inventors, artists, musicians, athletes, businessmen and others who changed the landscape of the world. It’s easy to look back at dark places like slavery and segregation and feel burden and shame. However, even in the dark places we can find tremendous strength.  Let them know they have royal blood running through their veins and because of that, they can accomplish anything. Never make them feel burdened by the color of their skin.

5. Don’t stifle their curiosity.

This has never been an easy one for me. As a self-proclaimed helicopter mom of three boys, I am inclined to hover over my sons. I want them to remain safe and protected. However, I have learned the more I stifle their curiosity, the more withdrawn they will become.  They will be afraid to speak up in class, speak up for themselves and speak up for others. Within reason, allow your children to explore the world around them. Indulge their interests. Allow them to try new things and find answers for their questions.  Allow them to see the beauty in their growing minds.

6. Be discriminating with who you allow into their lives.

The truth is, like in any community, some members of our community aren’t as enlightened as others. They are unable to find beauty in certain skin tones and features and unfortunately, they are not so good at hiding it.  If possible, limit contact or keep these people away from your children. If you can’t, be sure to let your child know that you do not condone that persons comments or behavior. I have found that nothing has made me braver than being a mother. It’s not necessary to be insulting. However, I have shut down many a negative comment by saying, “Please do not say that to or around my child.”

7. Compliment, Praise, and Encourage.

In the early nineties, Toni Morrison was on Oprah discussing “The Bluest Eye.” She asked a simple question, “Does your face light up when your children walk into the room?” I was a teenager at the time but even then something about that moment touched me.  It is important to feel loved, appreciated and valued.  In this age of handheld devices, it is so easy to become distracted. I am guilty of having to be told to put down my electronic device by my own children when I am not giving them the attention they deserve.  At the back, front, side and middle of our brain, we should all hold ourselves accountable for how we receive our children when they walk into a room.  How we respond to them when they do something to make us proud.  How we react when they want to feel handsome or pretty.  Tell them they are beautiful, tell them they matter, tell them they are smart and they are loved.  Whether we want the burden or not, it is us who will teach them their value.

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About The Author

Faye McCray is anMcCray_AuthorPhoto (1) attorney by day and writer all the time. Her work has been featured on My Brown Baby, AfroPunk, AfroNews, For HarrietMadame NoireBlack Girl NerdsBlack and Married with Kids, and other popular publications.  Faye also has a number of short stories and a full length novel available for purchase on Amazon.  Most importantly, Faye is a proud wife and mother to three beautiful and talented young boys who she is fiercely passionate about raising.

20 Quotes to Inspire Young Men

Let these 20 quotes from inspiring leaders, thinkers and innovators push you forward in your journey to greatness.

Check out these great quotes to inspire you or the young men in your life!

1.”One and God make a majority.” – Frederick Douglass, Renowned American Abolitionist

2. “The privileges of being an American belong to those brave enough to fight for them.” – Benjamin O. Davis Jr., Leader of the Tuskegee Airmen Flight Squadron and First Black Air Force General

3. “Men who are in earnest are not afraid of consequences.” – Marcus Garvey, Black Nationalist and Pan-Africanist

4. “The first need of a free people is to define their own terms.” – Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), Revolutionary

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5. “Kwanzaa was conceived, created and introduced to the African community as an audacious act of self-determination.” – Maulana Karenga, Black Nationalist and Creator of Kwanzaa

6. “I’m in business to make money. You can do well and do good. But at first, you have to focus on the blocking and tackling of running a good business.” – Robert Johnson, Co-founder of BET

7. “Keep going no matter what.” – Reginald F. Lewis, Philanthropist, Attorney, Businessman

8. “Money had never been the main thing for me.  It’s the legacy that was important.” – Berry Gordy, Founder of Motown Records

9. “I am a man, I count nothing human foreign to me.” – Publius Terentius Afer (Terence), Greatest Roman Comic Dramatist

10. “We will either find a way or make one.” – Hannibal Barca, Greatest Carthaginian General

11. “The best way to boycott is to build your own.” – Chuck D, Rap Pioneer

12. “Never abandon your vision.  Keep reaching to further your dreams.” – Benjamin Banneker, Inventor, Author, Architect

13. “Our children may learn about heroes of the past.  Our task is to make ourselves architects of the future.” – Jomo Kenyatta (Kamau Ngengi), Pan-Africanist and First President of an Independent Kenya

14. “Either you deal with what is the reality, or you can be sure that the reality is going to deal with you.” – Alex Haley, Historian

15. “I resolve it is better to die than be a white man’s slave.” – Sengbe Pieh (Joseph Cinque), Leader of Amistad Slave Revolt

16. “Hate is a wasteful emotion, most of the people you hate don’t know you hate them and the rest don’t care.” – Medgar Evers, Civil Rights Activist

17. “I think that the good and the great are only separated by the willingness to sacrifice.” – Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Most Prolific Scorer in NBA History

18. “Find a need and fill it. Successful businesses are founded on the needs of the people. Once in business, keep good books. Also, hire the best people you can find.” – Arthur G. Gaston, Businessman/Civil Rights Activist

19. “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” – Booker T. Washington, Educator, Businessman, Founder of the Tuskegee Institute

20. “To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe, World Renowned Tennis Player

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About The Author

Rick McCray is a maRAMrried father of three amazing sons. He is also a proud graduate of Duke University where he holds a BA in History and African/African American History, and Howard University School of Law. He is also a regular commentator on the In The Black podcast.  Rick is passionate about our history and helping to educate our community concerning the great contributions of people of color to the world. You can find Rick on Twitter @RealRickMcCray.