Unbought and Unbossed by Shirley Chisholm
Unbought and Unbossed by Shirley Chisholm
Unbought and Unbossed by Shirley Chisholm
Unbought and Unbossed by Shirley Chisholm

Unbought and Unbossed by Shirley Chisholm

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Boston : Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1970. First Edition. Hardcover. 177 pages ; 21 cm. Pages are unmarked and binding is firm.


In 1968 Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman to be elected to the Congress of the United States. She won this unique designation the hard way — against the odds of her race and sex, and against all the ground rules of the political game. This is Mrs. Chisholm's own story of how she got there and how she assesses her role as a black woman in politics.

Her story begins with a sharply perceived self-portrait of growing up in Brooklyn where her Barbadian parents, long on discipline but strong on love, survived the depths of depression poverty to give their children college educations. It was during these formative years that her nascent racial awareness gathered into a resolve to do something concrete for the black community.

Her career in politics started in the early 1950s at the lowest rung on the political ladder, in Brooklyn's boss-run Democratic clubhouses. Persistently challenging the inequities of the machine, she came to be regarded as a troublemaking maverick — but one to be reckoned with. Her rise from local clubhouse worker to New York State Assemblywoman in Albany on to representative in the U.S. Congress was accomplished by the will of a dynamic, fighting woman with an unswerving belief in her own purpose: to put the needs of her people before political expediency. "Unbought and Unbossed" was Mrs. Chisholm's street-corner campaign slogan when she won the election away from the odds-on favorite, former CORE director James Farmer.

Since her fiery, precedent-breaking first months in Congress, she has continued to work under this system-bucking banner.

Congresswoman Chisholm speaks out and she speaks straight — on a Congress bogged down by "the senility system," the Nixon administration's failure to grapple with the priority problems of poverty. She expresses her hopes for the women's liberation movement and the younger generation in rightful rebellion. She tells how she has managed to combine a political life with a happy marriage. She explains her relations with the militant blacks and her reasons for choosing to work within the political system. With singular fervor and understanding, she has shaped her life and convictions in an attempt to bridge the gaps of generation, sex, and race. Her story has immediate relevance for all Americans,

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