Shirley Chisholm

There is no better way to end this month’s look at women’s history then with Shirley Chisholm, a woman of many firsts and a true trailblazer. Shirley is best known for being the first African American woman elected to Congress, but really accomplished so much more. 

Born in 1924 as Shirley Anita St. Hill, she grew up in Brooklyn and spent much of her childhood with her grandmother in Barbados. Shirley graduated from college in 1948 when less than 20% of black Americans (male and female) were getting a secondary education. After college, Shirley started a career as an elementary school teacher. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in elementary education from Columbia University and was appointed director of the Hamilton-Madison Child Care Center and was an educational consultant for New York City’s Bureau of Child Welfare.

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