A serious candidate for president

When Shirley Chisholm ran for president in 1972, the press asked her repeatedly: “But, Mrs. Chisholm, are you a serious candidate?”

The reporters wanted to know if Chisholm thought that the country was ready to vote for a Black woman for president. They asked Chisholm, the first Black woman in Congress, if women should be patient, if it was too soon for a woman to be president.

Chisholm replied, “If not now, I say, when?”

She didn’t win, of course. But, Chisholm later said, “in a broad sense, my campaign will continue. In fact, it is just beginning.”

Ellen Fitzpatrick writes about Chisholm in her book The Highest Glass Ceiling—Women’s Quest of the American Presidency.

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