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Born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 30, 1924, to Charles Christopher and Ruby Seale St. Hill, Shirley Anita St. Hill (later Chisholm) was sent to Barbados at the age of three to live with her grandmother. She returned to Brooklyn at the age of eleven, graduated from high school in Brooklyn, and attended Brooklyn College on a scholarship, graduating cum laude in 1946 with a major in sociology.
She was active in the League of Women Voters, the Bedford-Stuyvesant Political League, and the Brooklyn branch of the NAACP, and served in the New York State Assembly from 1964-68, the first black woman from Brooklyn to serve in the Assembly. In 1968 Shirley Chisholm ran for U.S. representative from the Twelfth District under the slogan, "Unbought and Unbossed" and won the election by 788 votes. She attended the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago as a New York state national committeewoman. The first black woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, Chisholm voted against the anti-ballistic missile and the SST, co-sponsored a day-care facilities bill with Bella Abzug, supported the Equal Rights Amendment and the right to abortion, and helped to found the National Women's Political Caucus in 1971.
Chisholm entered the presidential campaign in 1972 and earned 152 delegate votes at the Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach before withdrawing her candidacy. She served in Congress until 1982, continuing to work for equal rights for blacks, women, and other minorities. She was married to Conrad Q. Chisholm in October 1949. Chisholm commented on her 1972 campaign for the presidency: "I ran because someone had to do it first. ...
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