Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to United States House of Representatives, drew national attention in 1972 when she announced her bid for presidency. She won 152 delegates as a candidate for the Democratic nomination before withdrawing. Elected to Congress in 1968 from the New York’s Bedford-Stuyvesant area, she defeated the civil rights leader James Farmer. Her congressional career lasted from 1969 to 1983. During that time she was a strong outspoken liberal on a number of issues including drug abuse, social justice, and the war in Vietnam. She was in support of full employment proposals and an education advocate.
As founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus, she supported the Equal Rights Amendment, including a range of women’s rights issues. A group of 137 scholars named her 1970 speech in support of the amendment as one of the top 100 American speeches of the twentieth century.
Her speech is posted below.