The Life of Shirley Chisholm

Topics: African American, Black people, Women's rights Pages: 10 (3452 words) Published: January 16, 2013


Table of Contents

Introduction to Shirley Chisholm3
Shirley’s rearing In Barbados4
Retuning to Brooklyn5
Shirley gets an Intro to Politics in College6
Time for Shirley to Stop watching and get in the Mix7
Shirley the Assemblywoman8
Shirley the Congresswoman10
Shirley fights for our basic Civil Rights11
Shirley’s work in Congress reflected the Civil Rights Movement12 Shirley’s Bid for the President13
Listed Work Cited15
Introduction to Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm was a “Rough Rider” straight out of the gate. Her mother said at 3 years old, she was bossing kids 3 and 4 years older than her. To know Shirley Chisholm, is to know that she was small in stature but, she had a lot of tenacity. Due to the economic situation in the United States her parents could not afford a good education, so they sent Shirley and her sisters back to Barbados to live with their maternal grandmother, for about 7 years. Her education in the strict, British-style schools of Barbados, she credits with her ease with speaking and writing. After attending those schools, when she returned to the states, she was several years ahead of her peers.

She started her work career as a Director of a day nursery on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. This experience gave her an acute awareness of her social surroundings. She saw first-hand how minorities were in substandard housing, inadequate schools, subjected to drugs and police brutality and no basic civil rights. This was when she determined that bad government had a connection to the fate of these minorities. She joined the Bedford-Stuyvesant Political League and gained lots of experience and political insight. She helped her neighbors to register to vote, unemployed to get jobs, students to get scholarships and fought with the league for 10 years and gained lots of respect and connections. Feeling like she could help and having a little experience she ran and won as the first African-American Assemblywoman for New York. Shirley sought the basic civil rights for all minorities and for those rights, she waged a battle in the political arena that was seldom seen.

Shirley’s rearing In Barbados

Shirley was born during the depression and spent her first seven years in Barbados. Her Grandmother, Mrs. Emily Seale would be the one raising them. As tough as Shirley was, she didn’t know the day she laid eyes on Mrs. Emily Seale that she had met her match. Shirley learned at an early age, not even to question her grandmother’s authority. They lived on a small farm in a small village with their grandmother. The farm had plenty of animals, goats, pigs, chickens, etc. and the farm also had a well. The children’s chores included feeding the animals and making sure they never got out and there was always water for the drinking, cooking and washing. The water from the well had to be taken bucket by bucket. Truly this is where her worth ethics were born. Her grandmother had no favorites; every one on the farm had to do work. School was just as important to her grandmother and to all the people of Barbados. Barbados had the highest literacy rate in the Caribbean, it was 94 percent. She found out that the teachers and parents were definitely in agreement when it came to a child’s education. The teachers were free to whip the children and they did not spare the rod. If you told your parents, the parents whipped you again. Shirley got her distribution of whippings and she agreed this made her a better student. Today, scientist would argue that this maybe bad for children. But in Barbados the discipline of a child was as natural as the air they breathe. Shirley realized later on in life that her success in writing and speaking stem direct from her early education in Barbados.

Retuning to Brooklyn

After the paradise of the islands, Shirley and...

Cited: Chisholm, Shirley, Ubought and Unbossed, Houghton Mifflin Company Boston, 1970
Hicks, Nancy, The Honorable Shirley Chisholm Congresswoman from Brooklyn, Lion Books, New York, 1971
Chisholm, Shirley, The Good Fight, Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. 1973
Duckett, Alfred, Changing of the Guard, The new breed of Black Politicians, Longsmans Canada Limited, Toronto, 1972
Le Veness, Frank P. & Sweeney, Jane P, Women Leaders in Contemporary U.S. Politics, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder, CO 1987
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