Inspiration and wisdom from divine felines

43 Inspiring Quotes by Shirley Chisholm

  • Last updated Jul 27 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Shirley Chisholm.

Wikipedia Summary for Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Anita Chisholm (née St. Hill; November 30, 1924 – January 1, 2005) was an American politician, educator, and author. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress, representing New York's 12th congressional district, a district centered on Bedford-Stuyvesant, for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In the 1972 United States presidential election, she became the first African-American candidate for a major party's nomination for President of the United States, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

Born in Brooklyn, Chisholm studied and worked in early childhood education, becoming involved in local Democratic party politics in the 1950s. In 1964, overcoming some resistance because she was a woman, she was elected to the New York State Assembly. Four years later she was elected to Congress, where she led expansion of food and nutrition programs for the poor and rose to party leadership. She retired from Congress in 1983 and taught at Mount Holyoke College, while continuing her political organizing. Although nominated for an ambassadorship in 1993, health issues caused her to withdraw. In 2015, Chisholm was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Arizona landscape snow

Health is a human right, not a privilege to be purchased.

--Shirley Chisholm

snow covered mountain under blue sky during daytime

To label family planning and legal abortion programs "genocide" is male rhetoric, for male ears.

--Shirley Chisholm


black textile in close up photography

That I am a national figure because I was the first person in 192 years to be at once a congressman, black, and a woman proves, I would think, that our society is not yet either just or free.

--Shirley Chisholm


white flowers

Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread and deepseated, that it is invisible because it is so normal.

--Shirley Chisholm

None

Racism keeps people who are being managed from finding out the truth through contact with each other.

--Shirley Chisholm

brown wooden surface

We have never seen health as a right. It has been conceived as a privilege, available only to those who can afford it. This is the real reason the American health care system is in such a scandalous state.

--Shirley Chisholm

mountains under starry sky during nighttime

The minorities have been confined to the city by a moat of bigotry.

--Shirley Chisholm

calm ocean

It is obvious that discrimination exists. Women do not have the opportunities that men do. And women that do not conform to the system, who try to break with the accepted patterns, are stigmatized as odd and unfeminine.

--Shirley Chisholm

shoreline during golden hour

Women have learned to flex their political muscles. You got to flex that muscle to get what you want.

--Shirley Chisholm


brown and black leaf in close up photography

All Americans are the prisoners of racial prejudice.

--Shirley Chisholm

starry night in Texas

Not only am I literally and figuratively the dark horse, I'm actually the poor horse. The only thing that I have going for me is my soul and my commitment to the American people.

--Shirley Chisholm

Longer Version:

My God, what do we want? What does any human being want? Take away an accident of pigmentation of a thin layer of our outer skin and there is no difference between me and anyone else. All we want is for that trivial difference to make no difference. What can I say to a man who asks that? All I can do is try to explain to him why he asks the question. You have looked at us for years as different from you that you may never see us really. You don’t understand because you think of us as second-class humans. We have been passive and accommodating through so many years of your insults and delays that you think the way things used to be is normal. When the good-natured, spiritual-singing boys and girls rise up against the white man and demand to be treated like he is, you are bewildered. All we want is what you want, no less and no more. (Chapter 13).


white wall paint with black line

My greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear, is my mouth, out of which come all kinds of things one shouldn't always discuss for reasons of political expediency.

--Shirley Chisholm

purple lavender flower

There is a good deal of evidence that the United States is moving to the right, and that the main force behind the movement is a resurgence, in a new form, of racial prejudice.

--Shirley Chisholm

close up photography of moon

I am and always will be a catalyst for change.

--Shirley Chisholm

blue and white painted wall

America has the laws and the material resources it takes to insure justice for all its people. What it lacks is the heart, the humanity.

--Shirley Chisholm

Longer Version:

America has the laws and the material resources it takes to insure justice for all its people. What it lacks is the heart, the humanity, the Christian love that it would take.



water on seashore

Mother always said that even when I was 3, I used to get the 6- and 7-year-old kids on the block and punch them and say, 'Listen to me.'

--Shirley Chisholm

brown mountain

Of my two 'handicaps,' being female put more obstacles in my path than being black.

--Shirley Chisholm

closeup photo of bird beside purple petal flowers

That's what's wrong with the country. There are too many 'good soldiers' accepting too many bad decisions.

--Shirley Chisholm

leafless tree on snow covered ground

We have been so patient and loyal ... and what has it gotten us? We want our full share now.

--Shirley Chisholm

green grass field

I am the people's politician. If the day should ever come when the people can't save me, I'll know I'm finished.

--Shirley Chisholm

lightning strike at night

It is not heroin or cocaine that makes one an addict, it is the need to escape from a harsh reality.

--Shirley Chisholm

Longer Version:

It is not heroin or cocaine that makes one an addict, it is the need to escape from a harsh reality. There are more television addicts, more baseball and football addicts, more movie addicts, and certainly more alcohol addicts in this country than there are narcotics addicts.


sunset with storm clouds

There is little place in the political scheme of things for an independent, creative personality, for a fighter. Anyone who takes that role must pay a price.

--Shirley Chisholm

clear drinking glass with beer

Of course laws will not eliminate prejudice from the hearts of human beings. But that is no reason to allow prejudice to continue to be enshrined in our laws -- to perpetuate injustice through inaction.

--Shirley Chisholm


purple petaled flower on gray surface

Congress seems drugged and inert most of the time... its idea of meeting a problem is to hold hearings or, in extreme cases, to appoint a commission.

--Shirley Chisholm


blue sky with stars during night time

In the end anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing: anti-humanism.

--Shirley Chisholm

time lapse photography body of water

You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.

--Shirley Chisholm

None

I am not antiwhite, because I understand that white people, like black ones, are victims of a racist society. They are products of their time and place.

--Shirley Chisholm


four handheld gardening tools on rack

I don't measure America by its achievement but by its potential.

--Shirley Chisholm

brown rock formation on body of water during daytime

If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.

--Shirley Chisholm

multicolored heart LED light on wall

When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.

--Shirley Chisholm

sunset

I have certainly met much more discrimination in terms of being a woman than being black, in the field of politics.

--Shirley Chisholm


purple and black light illustration

I stand before you today to repudiate the ridiculous notion that the American people will not vote for qualified candidates simply because he is not white or because she is not a male.

--Shirley Chisholm

man standing outdoors

I ran because somebody had to do it first. In this country, everybody is supposed to be able to run for president, but that has never really been true.

--Shirley Chisholm


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