Sunday, March 11, 2007

Unbought and Unbossed: Following Shirley Chisholm's Path
by E. Faye Williams

As we celebrate Women's History this month, countless references will no doubt be made to the historic strides made by America's women politicians this year, when we saw, for the first time, the gavel of the Speaker of the House wielded by a woman, and a woman candidate emerge as the frontrunner for her party's presidential nomination. And it looks to be an historic year in Black political history, as well, as an African-American senator is touted as a serious contender for the same nomination. Indeed, these are historic precedents in all of American history.

But more than 30 years ago, one person embodied two "firsts," when Rep. Shirley Chisholm of New York threw her hat into the ring of presidential politics when she announced her 1972 run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Her slogan spoke to neither her race nor her gender, but to the state of U.S. politics in her time (and ours): "Unbought and Unbossed."


Williams is the national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc.