Tag Archives: Shirley Chisholm

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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Zinga Fraser, PhD returns @AM2DM on @BuzzFeedNews

Zinga Fraser, PhD returns to @AM2DM on BuzzFeed News to discuss Shirley Chisholm entrance in the United States Congress and parts of her political career.

Zinga Fraser, PhD #AM2DM.png

Over 401K viewers see the interview between Professor Fraser and Isaac Fitzgerald.

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Zinga A. Fraser, PhD on BuzzFeed News @AMtoDM 2/19/18

Zinga A. Fraser, PhD on BuzzFeed News #AMtoDM with co-host Saeed Jones

Follow on Twitter @FraserZinga @ChisholmProject @theferocity

For more information visit www.chisholmproject.com

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Zinga A. Fraser, PhD with Saeed Jones at BuzzFeed News AM to DM. Photo credit: MalbroughPhotos

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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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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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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

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Dr. Zinga Fraser At Brooklyn Historical Society: “Women in Politics: Brooklyn & Beyond” 11/8/16

Professional Development

Professional Learning with Brooklyn Historical Society

Our professional development workshops for teachers at BHS and BLDG 92 provide teachers with a forum in which to engage with new scholarship in history, sustainable design, race and identity and related fields; practice pedagogical approaches in collaboration with colleagues; and learn about museum-based school programs and curricula.


Election Day Professional Learning Workshopszinga-fraser-2016-07-18

At Brooklyn Historical Society: “Women in Politics: Brooklyn & Beyond”
November 8, 2016, 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
Register Here, $25
With In Pursuit of Freedom digital curriculum and Dr. Zinga Fraser, director of the Shirley Chisholm Project.

On this historic Election Day, we will explore the role of women in politics in Brooklyn and beyond, and provide resources for bringing this important history into your classroom. We’ll consider political involvement broadly, from Shirley Chisholm’s congressional service and presidential campaign to Mary White Ovington and the NAACP to Maritcha Lyons’ influence in 19th century education for students of color. We’ll also mine BHS’s archives for opportunities to find women’s political contributions in primary sources that will broaden your students’ concept of American history.

The workshop is open to all NYC teachers, with primary source material best suited to grades 4 and up.

Fee includes breakfast & lunch.

Source: © Brooklyn Historical Society

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Brooklyn Historical Society Podcast Histories and Ideas: Interview with Zinga Fraser, PhD about Shirley Chisholm

02:43 – Histories and Ideas: Interview with Zinga Fraser about Shirley Chisholm

Segment 1: Histories and Ideas

After speaking with Zinga Fraser, PhD about Shirley Chisholm, we declared the interview nothing short of brilliant. We know you’ll think so too.

Zaheer, Zinga, and Julie

Zinga is Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at Brooklyn College and directs the Shirley Chisholm Project of Brooklyn Women’s Activism.

Source: Brooklyn Historical Society

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The Legacy of Shirley Chisholm ’46, Empowering Women and Marginalized Communities, Endures, Says Professor Zinga Fraser — NY1

Brooklyn College Students Study Shirley Chisholm’s ’72 Run for President

By Jeanine Ramirez
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 01:13 AM EDT

Brooklyn College Students Study Shirley Chisholm’s ’72 Run for President
By Jeanine Ramirez
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 01:13 AM EDT
03/16/2016 01:00 PM

Brooklyn College is marking a milestone with its women’s studies program. As we continue our coverage of Women’s History Month, we head to the Brooklyn campus for a look at feminism in 2016 and its role in politics.

It was more than four decades ago, but Shirley Chisholm’s historic bid for president in 1972 still resonates on the campus of the college where she’s a celebrated alumnus.

“It’s important that our students are connected to her legacy,” said Director of the college’s Shirley Chisholm Project, Zinga Fraser.

Chisholm was the first Black woman elected to Congress in 1968 and the first to launch a serious bid for president. Fraser says part of the teachings here is how Chisholm created a coalition of marginalized communities as part of her campaign.

“We’ve got to have persons who have the courage to really tell it like it really is,” Chisholm said.

This year students in the Women’s and Gender Studies program, now marking its 40th year, are looking at Chisholm’s 1972 campaign and what it means for a woman to be president. With that, Hillary Clinton becomes the subject of discussion.

“I feel like in political discussion everyone want the first woman president and never discusses what her terms are what she has planned and I think there’s a difference between voting for someone because they’re a woman and voting for someone because they’re right,” said student Bryanna Ajodha.

“I don’t think Hillary Clinton being a woman automatically makes her great for women,” said student Brian Cordero. “Not that she’s objectively bad for them but I don’t like to see that correlation being made.”

Fraser says the feminist movement from the 1960s has evolved beyond symbolism, yet women in politics still endure unique hurdles.

“Feminists, at least in my class, are very nuanced,” Fraser said. “They can understand the sexism and misogyny that Hillary Clinton in many ways has to endure because she’s a woman but still are connected to progressive politics.”

That’s why Chisholm’s political influence endures. The Brooklyn trailblazer will continue to be part of the curriculum here as political cycles come and go.

The women’s and gender studies program will have its 40th anniversary celebration March 31.

Source: NY1

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