A Few Words From Shirley Chisholm – 1972 – Speaking Of Candidates – Past Daily Reference Room

Shirley Chisholm - in 1972 her Presidential run was loaded with possibilities - but America was so not ready.
Shirley Chisholm – in 1972 her Presidential run was loaded with possibilities – but America was so not ready.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – 30 Minutes with: Shirley Chisholm – April 28, 1972 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

With the announcement this past Sunday of Hillary Clinton’s intentions to run for the White House in 2016, I was reminded when another candidate at another time sought to shake up the status quo and bring some new possibilities into The White House.

Shirley Chisholm was the first Black Woman elected to Congress, representing New York’s 12th Congressional district from 1969 to 1983.

In 1972 the disenfranchised among American society were growing in number. Political movements had sprung up seemingly everywhere. 1972 was also an election year, and a groundswell of opposition and protest to the Nixon Administration, the Vietnam War, poverty, the slashing of aid programs to inner-cities, the deregulations of business and communications all spelled a desperate need for change.

And even though Shirley Chisholm was considered the longest of all possible long-shots in a bid for The White House, the thought of a Black Woman running for the highest office in the country was tantalizing to a lot of people.

With little campaign money and no party support, Shirley Chisholm went about conducting her campaign the old fashioned way; one-on-one, getting her message across to anyone who would listen. Soliciting the support of those marginalized and disenfranchised and criss-crossing the country with her message.

And perhaps most people didn’t take her seriously – perhaps most Americans (i.e. White voters) didn’t really feel it was time for a Black Woman to be President – the fact that she tried and got attention, and the support of a large number of people signified that change was in the air. And that it was possible, maybe not in the 1970s, but some time, possibly in our lifetimes, where we would see either a Woman or a Black Candidate successfully run for the White House.

If you don’t know who Shirley Chisholm was, or have forgotten what was going on in 1972, here is an interview (one of many) with Shirley Chisholm, done in April of 1972 as part of the 30 Minutes With . . . program, shortly after announcing her candidacy, where she gives her views and her position on what needed to be done with the America of 1972.

Fascinating listening – and still relevant, some 43 years later.

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