SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Juliana Stratton, D-Chicago, as a part of African American History Month, on Thursdayhonored Shirley Chisolm, who was the first African-American Congresswoman and the first African-American to run for president.
“Shirley Chisolm was a trailblazer for both women and African Americans in politics,” said Stratton. “If it were not for her courage, I would probably not be standing on the floor of the Illinois House today, fighting for the social justice and criminal justice reforms to allow more African Americans to succeed in life.”
Rep. Chisholm was born in Brooklyn in 1924. In 1968, she was first elected to represent Brooklyn in the United States Congress and in 1972 became the first African-American person to run for a major political party’s nomination for President. Rep. Chisolm retired and returned to teaching after serving seven terms in the House. Chisholm died in January 2005, but was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in November 2015.
Stratton ended her floor speech with one of Chisholm’s most memorable quotes: “I want history to remember me not just as the first black woman to be elected to Congress, not as the first black woman to have made a bid for the presidency of the United States, but as a black woman who lived in the 20th century and dared to be herself.”