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Zinga Fraser, PhD Featured in New York Times “2019 Belongs to Shirley Chisholm”

Representative Shirley Chisholm announcing her bid for the United States presidency on Jan. 25, 1972, at the Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn.
Credit Don Hogan Charles/The New York Times

News Analysis

2019 Belongs to Shirley Chisholm

A feature film. A monument. Tattoos in her honor. People looking for a hero have found one in this one-woman precursor to today’s progressive politics.

Representative Shirley Chisholm announcing her bid for the United States presidency on Jan. 25, 1972, at the Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn.CreditCreditDon Hogan Charles/The New York Times

By Jennifer Steinhauer Ms. Steinhauer is a Times reporter.

 

 

Shirley Chisholm stares out from the side of a dozen coffee mugs these days, her epochal glasses, brocade dresses and distinct crown of curls recognizable trademarks of the most regenerative political figure in modern American culture.

As a number of new congresswomen begin to emerge in her image, Ms. Chisholm, who 50 years ago began her service as the first African-American woman in Congress, representing Brooklyn’s 12th District, is enjoying a resurgence of interest 14 years after her death.

The actor Viola Davis is producing and starring in a feature film about her, “The Fighting Shirley Chisholm,” and the congresswoman will be portrayed by the actress Uzo Aduba in the upcoming series “Mrs. America,” which chronicles the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Shirley Chisholm State Park — the largest state park in New York City — opened July 2 in Brooklyn. The congresswoman will soon be the first female historical figure to have a public monumentin Brooklyn. Representative Yvette Clarke, who holds the seat held by Ms. Chisholm, is working to get a statue of her placed in the United States Capitol.

This month, Representative Hakeem Jeffries, another Brooklyn Democrat, had a portrait of her made to hang in the office of the House Democratic Caucus — which he heads — on Capitol Hill. “The social, economic and social-justice fights that Shirley Chisholm once led have sharpened in the Trump era,” Mr. Jeffries said. Those forces have converged, he added, with “the logical attention to her 50th anniversary of becoming the first African-American woman in Congress.”

ImageA portrait of Shirley Chisholm, designed by Fiona Byon, was recently hung in the House Democratic Caucus office on Capitol Hill.
CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

John Stanton, a writer in New Orleans, recently had a replica of the 2008 portrait of Ms. Chisholm that hangs in the Capitol tattooed on his knee. “People want heroes right now,” Mr. Stanton said, “and they’re looking for heroes that aren’t just straight white men.”

Before the feminist movement fueled a slow wave of new women into Congress, Ms. Chisholm was a one-woman precursor to modern progressive politics. A community activist and educator who served briefly in the State Legislature, Ms. Chisholm decided to run for a House seat in 1968, her campaign centered squarely on gender; her primary opponent repeatedly suggested that a man was better suited to represent the area in Washington.

An advocate for the poor and working class, Ms. Chisholm employed a pre-Instagram method of direct engagement, a sound truck that she rolled up to Brooklyn housing projects bellowing, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is fighting Shirley Chisholm coming through.”

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Shirley Chisholm talking with youngsters and constituents in 1969 at a Police Athletic League block party on Rodney Street in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Credit Jack Manning/The New York Times

As the first African-American woman in Congress, Ms. Chisholm was often frozen out by men of all races and felt alienated by the feminist movement. In a 1974 speech at the University of Missouri, she said: “It is quite understandable why black women in the majority are not interested in walking and picketing a cocktail lounge which historically has refused to open its doors a certain two hours a day when men who have just returned from Wall Street gather in said lounge to exchange bits of business transactions that occurred on the market. This is a middle-class white woman’s issue.” Her efforts took years to be replicated. “You now have 20 black women in Congress,” Ms. Clarke said. “She was the only one.”

In 1972, Ms. Chisholm became the first African-American woman to seek the nomination of a major party for president of the United States. Thinking she could consolidate black, female and working-class voters under her campaign slogan and theme, “Unbought and Unbossed,” she ran up hard against the political realities and institutional sexism and racism of the era.

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A pamphlet advertising Shirley Chisholm’s 1972 presidential campaign.
Credit Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History

Ms. Chisholm was initially blocked from a televised debate, was derided by many of her black male colleagues in Congress who thought she had overstepped and was abandoned by white feminists like Gloria Steinem. But her unsuccessful run sealed her legacy as an unapologetic antiwar, feminist and working-class advocate, work she pursued until retiring from Congress in 1983. (In a twist, she also formed a genuine friendship with a presidential opponent, George Wallace, the former pro-segregationist governor of Alabama, and visited him in the hospital after he was shot.)

“A number of scholars have been doing a lot of work to expand the discourse on Shirley Chisholm for about six years knowing that there would be the 50th anniversary of her election to Congress,” said Zinga A. Fraser, director of the Shirley Chisholm Project on Brooklyn Women’s Activism at Brooklyn College. Still, “Hillary Clinton did not evoke her during her campaign,” Ms. Fraser said. “Neither did Barack Obama.”

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Rep. Chisholm, talking to visitors from Berea College on the steps of the Capitol in 1970.
Credit Mike Lien/The New York Times

Her speeches were of particular interest to Alphonso David, who is counsel to Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York and who sponsored the exhibit honoring Ms. Chisholm in a state office building. “They defined empowerment,” he said, noting remarks at Howard University in 1969 that resonate today. She said, “Just as the picket line and the lunch counter demonstrations and the boycotts were dramatic and effective weapons of protest for the civil rights movement, the polling place is the new phase in the new thrust of the black man’s bid for equality of opportunity.”

Representative Ayanna Pressley, Democrat of Massachusetts, was given Ms. Chisholm’s office in the Longworth House Office Building by her colleague, Representative Katie Hill, who had drawn it in the office lottery. “I feel a soul tie to Shirley Chisholm,” Ms. Pressley said. “The vibe of her office fills me with the courage to boldly lead, boldly legislate, and to never forget those who sent me here.” Ms. Pressley was one of many women who evoked Ms. Chisholm during their 2018 congressional campaigns.

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Congresswomen Shirley A. Chisholm, speaking to reporters in 1973.
CreditTyrone Dukes/The New York Times

The former Representative Charles Rangel, who served from 1971 to 2017, said Ms. Chisholm’s “newly found recognition” was “fully due to this new women’s movement.” He added, “Shirley did not get this type of support from men or women at the time. We always wait until somebody dies to do what we wish we had done while they were alive.”

Jennifer Steinhauer is a Times reporter focused on veterans’ issues and the author of the forthcoming book “The Firsts,” a chronicle of the first year of the women of the 116th Congress.

 

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page SR2 of the New York edition with the headline: 2019 Belongs to Shirley Chisholm. 

Source: © 2019 The New York Times Company

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Dr. Zinga Fraser Presents on Representatives Chisholm and Jordan at Columbia University

img_7762.jpgOn Thursday April 25th, Dr. Zinga Fraser joined an assembly of experts in the field of Africana Studies to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Institute of African American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia University.

Dr. Fraser was as a major participant in the first day of the conference, serving as a co-organizer of the event as well as the moderator of its opening roundtable discussion, From Theory to Praxis, Black Studies Beyond the Academy. Additionally, she gave a presentation during the second session of the conference, Intellectual Legacies of IRAAS Scholarship. Prof, Fraser presented on the transformative political work of pioneering congresswomen Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan.

The conference, entitled Free To Be Anywhere In the Universe–An International Conference on New Directions in the Study of the African Diaspora was organized by Dr. Fraser and her colleagues to reflect on the history of (IRAAS) and envision the future of African Diasporan research and public engagement. The Institute was founded in 1993 by the late Dr. Manning Marable. Dr. Fraser, who studied with Professor Marable as one of his students, received her Master’s degree at IRAAS and currently serves as Co-Chair of its Alumni Council.

For the opening Roundtable, she was joined by the following IRAAS alumni: Prof. Zaheer Ali of the Brooklyn Historical Society; Ms. Natasha Korgaonkar (Columbia University); Prof. Meghan Marcelin of Just LeadershipUSA; Mr. David Johns of the National Black Justice Coalition; and Prof. Carmen Thompson (Portland State University).

 

The participants Roundtable [from left]:Marcelin, Ali, Professor Farah Griffin (IRAAS Director) Korgaonkar; Thompson; Fraser; and Johns

 

Along with her fellow alumni, Dr. Fraser gave a presentation at thge second panel of the day. Her talk was entitled, Black Congressional Women’s Freedom Dreams: Redefining American Democracy.” During the presentation, she discussed the profound impact of the first Black women elected to U.S. Congress, their “refusal to be invisible,” as well as their struggle to contend with “everyday attacks on their humanity.”

 

Professor Fraser [center] giving her presentation, alongside Prof. Bruce [left] and Prof. Rickford [right].

 

Jordan and Chisholm, she told the audience, “strategically used the House floor, podiums, committee rooms…and dining halls to confront its members on sexism, racism and misogyny.” Unlike their foremothers who had to fight for freedom from the margins and “behind the scenes,” Chisholm and Jordan, according to Fraser, too up the challenge of bringing the freedom struggle directly into the formal halls of political power.

Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress in 1968 after a distinguished career as a school teacher, daycare administrator and NY state legislature. She was also the first woman and African-American to launch a serious national campaign for the presidency in 1972. She was also a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and a lifelong champion for women, racial minorities, the working class, immigrants and children. For more information, please visit our page: WHO WAS SHIRLEY CHISHOLM?

Barbara Jordan became the second African American woman to ascend to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972. She was also the first Black woman to serve in the House from the South. Before that, she had already made history as the first Black woman elected to Texas State since the Reconstruction Era. Among her many legislative accomplishments, Jordan served on the House Judiciary Committee, famously speaking before that body to articulate a moral argument in favor of the impeachment of Richard Nixon. In Congress, she fought discriminatory banking practices against the poor and racial minorities; she fought for immigration reform and for the renewal of voting rights protections. Aside for her speech before the Judiciary Committee, she is perhaps best known for giving the keynote address at the 1976 Democratic National Convention.

Being among the nation’s foremost experts in African American history, politics and congressional Black women, Dr. Fraser has already written extensively on these two phenomenal figures including articles such as ‘‘The Political Genius of Black Women”and “The Politics of Trauma: Barbara Jordan and Shirley Chisholm’s Political Lives.” Furthermore, she is currently working on a highly-anticipated manuscript Sister Insider/ Sister Outsider: Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan Black Women’s Politics in the Post-Civil Rights Era, which will go further into depth about Chisholm and Jordan’s role in forcing American democracy to change for the better.

On Thursday, Prof. Russell Rickford (Cornell University), Prof. La Marr Bruce (University of Maryland) and Prof. Natalie Shibley (University of Pennsylvania) also joined Prof. Fraser in speaking on their current research projects.

 

The participants of [from left]: Professors Griffin; Bruce; Fraser; Shibley and Rickford.

 

 

If you are interested in learning more about the work of IRAAS, the development of the new African American and African Diaspora Studies Department at Columbia, or the work of Dr. Fraser, please visit the following websites:

http://iraas.columbia.edu

https://news.columbia.edu/content/new-department-builds-rich-african-diaspora-scholarship

https://www.zingafraser.com

Source: The Shirley Chisholm Project for Brooklyn Women’s Activism from 1945 to the Present

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Columbia University Interview of Zinga Fraser, PhD

Zinga A Fraser is the co-chair of Columbia’s IRAAS Alumni Council and has a PhD in African American Studies. She is an active supporter of Columbia University’s African American and African Diaspora Studies Department. This new department will bring a fresh approach to the discipline at a crucial moment in race relations and black identity within our society. Currently Fraser teaches at Brooklyn College.

Learn more: New Department Builds on Rich African Diaspora Scholarship

©2019 Columbia University

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1/21/19 8PM CUNY TV Broadcast of Dr. Sonia Sanchez interview by Dr. Zinga Fraser

Monday, January 21, 2019 at 8pm, CUNY TV will be broadcasting our Conversation with Sonia Sanchez!

If you didn’t get to join us for Chisholm Day, please tune in tonight! In her dialogue with Chisholm Project Director Zinga A. Fraser, PhD, Dr. Sanchez spoke about Chisholm’s legacy, and also her own work as an activist and poet, against the backdrop of the Black Freedom Movement.

Guest List

Dr. Una S.T. Clarke Trustee, The City University of New York

Deborah Peaks Coleman Director, Delta Research and Educational Foundation

Dr. Zinga A. Fraser Director of the Shirley Chisholm Project and Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies, CUNY Brooklyn College

Sonia Sanchez Author

WHERE?

Online: http://www.cuny.tv/show/cunytv/PR2008177 DIGITAL Ch. ALSO: 25.3, and cablecast in the five boroughs of New York City on Ch. 75 (Time Warner and Cablevision Brooklyn), Ch. 77 (RCN Cable), and Ch. 30 (Verizon FiOS). You don’t want to miss it!!!

Via The Shirley Chisholm Project

CONTRIBUTE TO THE PROJECT

“I KNEW SHIRLEY CHISHOLM, WORKED ON HER CAMPAIGN OR HAVE MEMORABILIA I WOULD LIKE TO DONATE.”

Please contact us so we can provide more information about being interviewed and/or donating memorabilia to the project.

“I WOULD LIKE TO FINANCIALLY SUPPORT THE SHIRLEY CHISHOLM PROJECT.”

You may do so by making a tax-deductible contribution to the Brooklyn College Foundation.

TO DONATE ONLINE:
  1. Go to: The Brooklyn College Foundation Website.
  2. Complete the online donation form.
  3. In the “Fund Designation” box, please type: Shirley Chisholm Archive: 30303085
TO DONATE BY MAIL:
  1. Please make all checks payable to The Brooklyn College Foundation.
  2. In the memo of the check or in a note included with your contribution, please indicate that your gift supports the Shirley Chisholm Archive: 30303085
  3. Mail your gift to the following address:The Brooklyn College Foundation
    2900 Bedford Avenue
    Brooklyn, NY 11210

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Dr. Zinga Fraser Discusses Chisholm’s 50-Year Legacy with The Associated Press

AP_18313024500872

Dr. Zinga A. Fraser, the Director of the Shirley Chisholm Project was featured in an article by AP reporter Deepti Hajela “50 Years in, Chisholm’s Historic Victory Offers Inspiration.”

Drawing from an interview with Dr. Fraser on Shirley Chisholm’s importance in contemporary politics, Hajela writes:

She didn’t let the institutional power her campaign faced rattle her, said Zinga Fraser, professor and director of the Shirley Chisholm Project on women and activism at Brooklyn College.

In Sunday’s article, Dr. Fraser also observed:

“[Chisholm] called herself the people’s candidate because she wanted to bring on a new way to think about democracy, and who was privileged and who had the audacity to run.”

Hajela’s article has also been published in a number of publications this week including The New York TimesThe Washington PostNBC New YorkUS News, The Tampa Bay Times , The Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Gate

The Shirley Chisholm Project and it’s upcoming Chisholm Day celebration were also recently mentioned in a piece in The New York Amsterdam News. 

Source: The Shirley Chisholm Project for Brooklyn Women’s Activism from 1945 to the Present

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Zinga A. Fraser, PhD featured in USA Today

“Unbought and unbossed: Shirley Chisholm blazed multiple trails” 

By , USA TODAY Published 5:31 p.m. ET Feb. 13, 2018 | Updated 9:13 p.m. ET Feb. 13, 2018

Professor Zinga A. Fraser featured along with Rep. Yvette Clark, Senator Kamala Harris, Rep. Maxine Waters and several others on the importance of Shirley Chisholm.

“She is the first, at the time, really trying to create a coalition of young people when she’s running for the presidency, a coalition of people of color, people of indigenous descent, African-Americans,” said Zinga A. Fraser, Ph.D, and director of the Shirley Chisholm Project on Brooklyn Women’s Activism. “She understood that one group alone could not elect a president.”

Source: USA Today

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The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Press Release

AAUW logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 24, 2017

Media Contact: Lisa Goodnight, goodnightl@aauw.org 202.785.7738

Assistant Professor Dr. Zinga A. Fraser Receives A Prestigious AAUW Award Named a 2017-2018 Postdoctoral Fellow Awarded from one of the world’s oldest fellowship programs for women

AF-2017-18_Fraser_ZingaWASHINGTON — The American Association of University Women (AAUW) awarded a 2017–18 AAUW American Fellowship to Dr. Zinga Fraser. She is an Assistant Professor in Africana Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at Brooklyn College.

American Fellowships, AAUW’s largest funding program, date back to 1888, making them one of the oldest and most prestigious fellowship programs in the world exclusively for women. AAUW American Fellowships support women scholars who are completing doctoral dissertations, conducting postdoctoral research, or finishing research for publication.

“As an AAUW American Fellow I will be researching and working on my book manuscript entitled, Sister Insider/ Sister Outsider: Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan, Black Women’s Politics in the Post Civil Rights Era.” Fraser said. “I am honored to receive this prestigious fellowship that will allow me to complete this most important and timely work on Black women’s politics. This work hopes to transform not only how we understand the political lives of Congresswomen Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan but also understand the ways in which Black women help us reimagine democracy in the U.S. ” she continued. This book will be the first comparative study of Black Congressional women.

Dr. Fraser is the Director of the Shirley Chisholm Project on Brooklyn Women’s Activism at Brooklyn College. Professor Fraser‘s work focuses on African American and Women’s Politics, Black Women’s History, U.S. social movements and Race and inequality. She has published works in Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, the Association of Black Women’s Historians and Phillis: A Journal of African American Women’s History. As a former Congressional staffer on Capitol Hill her work engages the efforts by Black political leadership and African American communities to address institutional inequalities within public policy. Prof. Fraser received her B.A. from Temple University; M.A. from Columbia University; and Ph.D. in African American Studies from Northwestern University.

“AAUW American Fellows go on to do great things. Several have served as college or university presidents. Others have blazed new trails. I’m just in awe of them,” said Gloria Blackwell, AAUW vice president of fellowships, grants, and global programs. “AAUW is proud to award these prestigious fellowships to our newest class of scholars.”

For the 2017–18 academic year AAUW awarded a total of $3.7 million through six fellowships and grants programs to 250 scholars, research projects, and programs promoting education and equity for women and girls. AAUW is one of the world’s leading supporters of graduate women’s education, having awarded more than $100 million in fellowships, grants, and awards to 12,000 women from more than 140 countries since 1888.

Read AAUW’s announcement about this year’s awards. To find out more about this year’s exceptional class of awardees, visit the online directory. To reach an award recipient, call 202.728.7602 or email fellowships@aauw.org. ###

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) empowers women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Our nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 170,000 members and supporters across the United States, as well as 1,000 local branches and more than 800 college and university members. Since AAUW’s founding in 1881, our members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political. Learn more atand join us at www.aauw.org.

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Watch Zinga A. Fraser, PhD on CSPAN

Female Political Trailblazers from New York Panelists talked about three female political trailblazers from New York: former Representatives Shirley Chisholm (D-NY), the first African American woman elected to the United States Congress; Bella Abzug (D-NY), the second Jewish woman elected to Congress; and Geraldine Ferraro (D-NY), the first woman from a major party to run for vice president. The panelists spoke about the hurdles these women encountered in their political careers and compared those to what Hillary Clinton faced in the 2016 presidential campaign. NOVEMBER 9, 2016
Source: CSPAN

Zinga Fraser CSPAN

© 2017 National Cable Satellite Corporation All rights reserved. Image courtesy of CSPAN

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Positively Black: The Shirley Chisholm Project on WNBC 11/20/16

Positively Black: The Shirley Chisholm Project on WNBC 11/20/16

Tracie Strahan sits down with Zinga A. Fraser, PhD the director of the Shirley Chisholm Project at Brooklyn College, to discuss Chisholm’s legacy and how the project honors her. You can go to www.chisholmproject.com for more information.

zinga-fraser-nbc-2016-11-20

Image courtesy of NBC Universal

© 2016 NBCUniversal Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

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Watch Zinga A. Fraser, PhD on BBC World News Africa

Watch Zinga A. Fraser, PhD, Director of The Shirley Chisholm Project: Brooklyn Women’s Activism from 1945 to the Present at City University of New York, Brooklyn College on BBC World News Africa

zinga-fraser-bbc-world-news-2016-11-7

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