Over the weekend C-Money and a bitch watched Chisholm ’72 – Unbought and Unbossed. The late Congresswoman’s 1972 run for the Presidency is chronicled in this fantabulous documentary that NetFlix was kind enough to deposit in my mail (wink).
I knew about Shirley Chisholm’s historic election as the first black woman to Congress in 1968, but I have always wondered about her later run…in 1972…for President of the United States of America.
Shirley Chisholm was an educator and an activist…a politician and a trailblazer…but what has always fascinated me was the reaction the establishment had to her.
The "not now"s that were so quickly followed by the "even if the time is right it sure as shit isn’t your time’s.
Politics is often personal as a motherfucker and Ms. Chisholm encountered many a back stabbing asshole in her lifetime.
It was the attacks…those dismissive responses from some of the black men she served with in Congress…the smug amusement from the anointed heirs to the Democratic thrown…those attacks that forced the personal to collide with the political in the form of Chisholm ’72.
Candidate Chisholm gave us this…
“But in the event I'm not able to achieve said nomination, I want to be in a position where all of those forces in America that have never had any real input into who is going to be the chief exec of this land will have me as their instrument. Namely blacks, women, young, Spanish-speaking peoples. And therefore in the most beautiful possible, bloodless revolution at the DNC we can get together a ticket that is reflective of all different segments that make up this great land called America."
Her candidacy resulted in 152 delegate votes at the Democratic National Convention.
I’ve often thought that her loss was our loss.
You may ask why a bitch is thinking of Shirley Chisholm on the day set aside to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s birth. I guess I just felt like exploring some of those folks who inherited the legacy and ran with it.
See, I do not celebrate Dr. King’s birthday and legacy by exploring the fantastical sacrifice and achievement of an uncommon man. I see that as insulting to Dr. King and to the burden of activism he carried with him until his murder.
This bitch celebrates the power of the individual…the nuclear potential present when the personal meets the political…the ability with each and every one of us to get up, get active and keep it real as hell.
Dr. King and the many faceless activists of the Civil Rights Movement marched for the rights of citizenship in spite of the way things were…in the face of the strict interpretation of the Constitution in place at the time…and in the face of great ignorance and unchecked hatred.
So today a bitch celebrates the legacy as it lived in Sister Chisholm, who ran for office “in spite of hopeless odds”…who was “the first” all over the place…and who paved the way so that a real consideration of a person of color and/or woman as President could take place today.
Unbought, unbossed and undaunted.
That’s empowerment on a nuclear level…