Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has cemented herself in history, earning more than enough delegates to secure the Democratic presidential nomination. But before Clinton’s historic moment, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm paved the way with her presidential campaign in 1972.
In 1968, Chisholm became the first African-American woman elected to Congress, representing New York’s 12th Congressional District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983.
In 1972, she became the first major party Black candidate to run for President of the United States, and the first woman ever to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
On Thursday, Dr. E. Faye Williams, president and CEO of National Congress of Black Women, and filmmaker Shola Lynch, producer of the documentary Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed, joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to discuss Hillary’s political milestone and how Chisholm made it possible decades earlier.
Dr. Williams explained that Chisholm was a “catalyst for change,” and when she looks at what is happening with the Democratic Party and “Hillary Clinton cracking that glass ceiling,” she thought of Chisholm.
Dr. Williams said, “It was Shirley Chisholm who brought us to where we are. First of all, she paved the way for President Obama as well as (for) Hillary Clinton.
“Whatever Hillary Clinton is doing today, she can thank Shirley Chisholm for that.”
Lynch told Martin what often gets lost about Chisholm’s campaign is her “political strategy.” According to Lynch, Chisholm understood leverage and “did not wait her turn.”
“She acted on her conscience and she was a very progressive candidate –she was unbought and unbossed,” added Lynch.
The filmmaker explained that Chisholm secured as many delegates as possible to use as leverage prior to the ’72 convention and said there “was a scramble because there was no frontrunner” at the time.
Chisholm was able to fund her presidential campaign primarily with her savings as a school teacher; a feat that seems unfathomable in this day and age, when candidates raise hundreds of millions of dollars to run for public office.
Lynch then shared with viewers what she would like them to remember:
“When you have good ideas, you need to follow through, and if somebody tells you it’s not your turn, but you’re sure you’re right – then you got to be unbought and unbossed.”
Watch Roland Martin, Dr. E. Faye Williams, and Shola Lynch discuss Shirley Chisholm’s groundbreaking presidential campaign, which paved the way for Hillary Clinton, in the video clip above.