It’s not surprising to anyone who has lived in or visited a major American metropolitan region that the nation’s cities tend to be organized in their own particular racial pattern. In Chicago, it’s a north/south divide. In Austin, it’s west/east. In some cities, it’s a division based around infrastructure, as with Detroit’s 8 Mile Road. In other cities, nature—such as Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia River—is the barrier. Sometimes these divisions are man-made, sometimes natural, but none are coincidental.
During her decades-long political career, Shirley Chisholm established a lot of firsts. A community activist and educator-turned-congresswoman from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant in New York, Chisholm became the first black woman ever to be elected to the House of Representatives and a founding member of both the Congressional Black Caucus and later, the Congressional Women’s Caucus. But perhaps most significantly, just a few years after arriving in Congress, Chisholm became the first black person–and first woman–to run as a major party candidate for president of the United States, breaking down barriers and paving a path for people like President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.