Charlene Mitchell, who was the first Black woman to run for the White House in 1968, died on Dec. 14 at age 92. Mitchell’s son, Steven, confirmed that his mother died in a nursing home in Manhattan, The New York Times reports.
When she launched her campaign for president in 1968, Mitchell ran as the nominee for the Communist Party, which she first joined in 1946 at age 16. Throughout her political career, Mitchell focused on advocating for feminism, civil rights, police violence, economic inequality and anticolonialism.
In 1958, Mitchell joined the Communist Party’s national committee, becoming its youngest member ever. She continued to open new doors in the 1960s when she founded an all-Black chapter in Los Angeles known as the Che-Lumumba Club.
At age 38, Mitchell became the Communist Party’s presidential nominee. The trailblazer only appeared on four state ballots and received about 1,000 votes, but still brought more recognition to the party.
In the 1970s, Mitchell continued to advocate for people such as Joan Little, who was accused of murdering a prison guard who had sexually assaulted her in North Carolina. Mitchell also supported the Wilmington 10, a group of nine Black men and one woman who were convicted of arson and conspiracy in North Carolina in 1971. The group were later exonerated.
Mitchell distanced herself from the Communist Party in the 1980s. She believed the party was focusing too much on class issues instead of fighting for racial issues and other injustices.