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Day 22: Shirley Chisholm didn’t have a seat at the table, so she brought a folding chair

28 Days of Black History

California Congresswoman Maxine Waters is making waves these days for her no-nonsense approach to calling out what she believes is fraud and corruption in President Donald Trump’s administration. She has served in her post since 1991. But before Waters, there was another black woman daring to speak truth to power.

Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman elected to Congress in 1968 and the first major-party black candidate to make a bid for the U.S. presidency just four years later.

She dedicated her life to social activism and education issues, later leaving Washington to teach at a college. Chisholm is also one of the founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus, a group representing black members of Congress.

She’s the author of two books: Unbought and Unbossed (1970) and The Good Fight (1973).




Notable quotables by Shirley Chisholm

“The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: “It’s a girl.”


“Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread, and deep-seated, that it is invisible because it is so normal.”


“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”


“Political organizations are formed to keep the powerful in power. Their first rule is “don’t rock the boat.” If someone makes trouble and you can get him, do it. If you can’t get him, bring him in. Give him some of the action, let him have a taste of power. Power is all anyone wants, and if he has a promise of it as a reward for being good, he’ll be good. Anyone who does not play by those rules is incomprehensible to most politicians.”  ― Unbought And Unbossed


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