Sunday, February 13, 2005

Lyle Highlight Shirley Chisholm for Black History Month

Lyle: I was going through A Winding Road because it's been mentioned this week and found this "Shirley Chisholm 1924-2005." I met Chisholm once and asked her what the most important thing was and she, "Truth." I think it all boiled down to that for her and I think we should all boil it down to that. I'm in my forties and I can remember the excitement that she brought to the national stage.

I really enjoyed what I read at Winding Road but I felt that with Black History Month, this should be recognized:

Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to the United States Congress, in 1968, and she served there for 14 years. She was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus while she was there. She was also a vocal opponent of the Draft.

Chisholm ran for Democratic Nomination for President in 1972. Those of you who saw the coverage of the Democratic National Convention this summer, perhaps on CSPAN since the networks were shamefully lax in their coverage, will remember her face and a quote from her that popped up on the big screen from time to time between speakers, in the America Remembers segments.

The quote was this:

"I stand before you today as a candidate for the Democratic Nomination for the Presidency of the United States of America. I am not the candidate of black America, although I am black and proud. I am not the candidate for the women's movement of this country, although I am a woman and am equally proud of that. I am not the candidate of any political bosses or fat cats or special interests. I am the candidate of the people of America."

Personally, I often found her quote to be far more inspiring than anything happening on the stage during those July days.

Chisholm broke down doors for both women and minorities in this country and was a strong supporter and voice in Congress, and though she'd been out of office for over 20 years, her passing is something that we should all take time to note.

. . .

She wanted to be remembered as someone with guts, and I think her wish will be granted in that. Even those who may have disagreed with her stance on an issue could hardly deny the passion she brought to her work and her willingness to stand up for what she believed in.