CBCF Interim President and CEO Issues Statement on the 50th Anniversary of Historic Shirley Chisholm Election

November 5, 2018

CJ Epps

WASHINGTON—Dr. Elsie L Scott, interim president and CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), Inc., released the following statement regarding Congresswoman Chisholm’s election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1968.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) celebrates the contributions of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm on the 50th anniversary of her election to the U.S. House of Representatives. On November 5, 1968, Shirley Anita Chisholm, an educator from Brooklyn, New York, made history by becoming the first African American woman elected to Congress. Congresswoman Chisholm fought sexism during the campaign when her opponent argued that the district needed ‘a man’s voice’. Regarding her election, Ms. Chisholm stated:

‘I was the first American citizen to be elected to Congress in spite of the double drawbacks of being female and having skin darkened by melanin. When you put it that way, it sounds like a foolish reason for fame. In a just and free society it would be foolish. 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 think, that our society is not yet either just or free.’

In Congress, Ms. Chisholm was outspoken on issues that affected her district, women, and the African American community. Soon after taking her seat, she gained national attention protesting her committee assignment to the Agriculture Committee on the floor of the House. Her legislative focus was on education, guaranteed minimum income, and issues affecting women. As the daughter of immigrants, Ms. Chisholm also championed immigration issues.

Today, 50 years since the historic election of Shirley Chisholm to the House, black women have carried the black agenda into the voting booths and elected those who helped shape the black agenda. Since the congresswoman’s election in 1968, there are currently 18 black women in the House and one in the Senate. There has been an increase in black women running for local, state, and federal offices in the 2018 midterm election. On November 6, 2018, we anticipate more African American women will join those currently serving in Congress.

It is my sincere belief that Ms. Chisholm would be proud that so many women are following in her footsteps and striving to make a difference for African Americans, immigrants, women and the underserved communities across the United States.”

Established in 1976, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) is a non-partisan, nonprofit, public policy, research and educational institute committed to advancing the global black community by developing leaders, informing policy and educating the public. For more information, visit


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