Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm

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Chisholm, Shirley Anita St. Hill

(chĭz`əm), 1924–2005, U.S. congresswoman (1969–83), b. Brooklyn, N.Y. An expert on early childhood education, she worked (1959–64) as a consultant to the New York City bureau of child welfare before serving (1964–68) in the state assembly. Elected (1968) to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat, Chisholm became the first black woman to serve in that body. She quickly gained national attention as a vocal critic of the war in Vietnam and the House seniority system and as an outspoken advocate of the interests of the urban poor. An active member of the Congressional Black CaucusCongressional Black Caucus,
organization of African-American members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Founded in 1970, it addresses legislative concerns of African Americans and other minority citizens, such as employment, welfare reform, minority business development, and
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, Chisholm made an unsuccessful bid for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination. In 1993 she was nominated to be U.S. ambassador to Jamaica but withdrew because of ill health. She wrote Unbought and Unbossed (1970) and The Good Fight (1973).