One week after Barack Obama broke a major racial barrier, Brooklyn pols shined a light on one of their own, former Rep. Shirley Chisholm, who knocked down several racial and gender obstacles in her time.
Officials rallied on Wednesday to rename a state office building on Hanson Place in Fort Greene in honor of Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress, and the first woman to seek the Democratic nomination for president. The name change requires state legislation, which has been drafted by Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D–Fort Greene) and state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D–Fort Greene).
The ceremony coincided with the 40th anniversary of her stunning victory for Congress in 1968. Four years later, she tried to go even further.
“The political foundation for the historic election of Barack Obama was first laid when Shirley Chisholm took the bold step in 1972 to seek the presidency,” Jeffries said.
Rep. Ed Towns (D–Fort Greene) and Rep. Yvette Clarke (D–Park Slope), whose districts each include a part of Chisholm’s old seat, also participated in the event.
All the pols linked Chisholm, who died in 2005, to Obama, but she might have said she had more in common with Hillary Clinton.
“When I ran for the Congress, when I ran for president, I met more discrimination as a woman than for being black. Men are men,” she told the AP in 1982.