On November 30, 1924, Shirley Chisholm graced America with her presence. Representing the 12th District of Brooklyn in the House of Representatives, Chisholm became the first Black woman to serve in Congress in 1968. In 1972, she became the first Black woman to seek the presidential nomination.
‘I want history to remember me... not as the 1st black woman to have made a bid for the presidency of the United States, but as a black woman who lived in the 20th century and who dared to be herself. I want to be remembered as a catalyst for change in America.” Shirley Chisholm— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) November 30, 2018
"we are entering a new era, in which we must, as Americans, demand stature and size from our national leadership — leadership which is fresh, leadership which is open, and leadership which is receptive to the problems of all Americans."— Cite Black Women (@citeblackwomen) November 30, 2018
- #ShirleyChisholm#CiteBlackWomen pic.twitter.com/E35HuOjrR9
On the 94th anniversary of her birth and the 50th anniversary of her election to Congress, it was announced the politician, educator and author would be honored with a statue in Prospect Park, New York, according to The New York Times.
“We set out to correct a glaring inequity in our public spaces,” New York first lady Chirlane McCray told The Times on Thursday. “I hope that putting up the statue now will encourage even more.”
According to The Gothamist, McCray is working to change the landscape of New York City with her She Built NYC initiative. The program's goal is to erect monuments dedicated to women who have significantly contributed to the city. New York City currently has fewer than 10 statues honoring women compared to about 145 men.
McCray named Chisholm as the first woman to be feted under the initiative after considering suggestions from citizens and the recommendation of an advisory panel. We at Blavity are here for the decision, particularly given we've called for statues of Chisholm to be built in the past.
Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins spoke out in favor of the plan, as well.
"Shirley Chisolm earned her reputation as a trailblazer the hard way: by getting out in front of an issue and following it through," Dinkins said. "Through her feisty spirit, dogged persistence and unwillingness to compromise the truth, she made a powerful difference in more lives than she would ever know."
The statue will debut in 2020 and is expected to cost up to $1 million.
“I can’t think about her and what she accomplished before and after her run and not think ‘Oh, maybe I should do that too, you know?’" McCray said. "She really set an example, for all of us.”
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