photo of Shirley ChisholmPhoto Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Quotes by Shirley Chisholm

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Shirley Chisholm. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Anita Chisholm (née St. Hill; November 30, 1924 – January 1, 2005) was an American politician, educator, and author. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress, representing New York's 12th congressional district, a district centered on Bedford-Stuyvesant, for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In the 1972 United States presidential election, she became the first African-American candidate for a major party's nomination for President of the United States, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

Born in Brooklyn, Chisholm studied and worked in early childhood education, becoming involved in local Democratic party politics in the 1950s. In 1964, overcoming some resistance because she was a woman, she was elected to the New York State Assembly. Four years later she was elected to Congress, where she led expansion of food and nutrition programs for the poor and rose to party leadership. She retired from Congress in 1983 and taught at Mount Holyoke College, while continuing her political organizing. Although nominated for an ambassadorship in 1993, health issues caused her to withdraw. In 2015, Chisholm was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Quote: Women have learned to flex their political muscles. You got to flex that muscle to get what you want. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

Women have learned to flex their political muscles. You got to flex that muscle to get what you want.


Quote: I am the people's politician. If the day should ever come when the people can't save me, I'll know I'm finished. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

I am the people's politician. If the day should ever come when the people can't save me, I'll know I'm finished.


Quote: It is obvious that discrimination exists. Women do not have the opportunities that men do. And women that do not conform to the system, who try to break with the accepted patterns, are stigmatized as odd and unfeminine. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

It is obvious that discrimination exists. Women do not have the opportunities that men do. And women that do not conform to the system, who try to break with the accepted patterns, are stigmatized as odd and unfeminine.


Quote: In the end anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing: anti-humanism. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

In the end anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing: anti-humanism.


Quote: Mother always said that even when I was 3, I used to get the 6- and 7-year-old kids on the block and punch them and say, 'Listen to me.' by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

Mother always said that even when I was 3, I used to get the 6- and 7-year-old kids on the block and punch them and say, 'Listen to me.'


Quote: Health is a human right, not a privilege to be purchased. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

Health is a human right, not a privilege to be purchased.


Quote: My God, what do we want? What does any human being want? Take away an accident of pigmentation of a thin layer of our outer skin and there is no difference between me and anyone else. All we want is for that trivial difference to make no difference. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

My God, what do we want? What does any human being want? Take away an accident of pigmentation of a thin layer of our outer skin and there is no difference between me and anyone else. All we want is for that trivial difference to make no difference.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

My God, what do we want? What does any human being want? Take away an accident of pigmentation of a thin layer of our outer skin and there is no difference between me and anyone else. All we want is for that trivial difference to make no difference. What can I say to a man who asks that? All I can do is try to explain to him why he asks the question. You have looked at us for years as different from you that you may never see us really. You don’t understand because you think of us as second-class humans. We have been passive and accommodating through so many years of your insults and delays that you think the way things used to be is normal. When the good-natured, spiritual-singing boys and girls rise up against the white man and demand to be treated like he is, you are bewildered. All we want is what you want, no less and no more.


Quote: To label family planning and legal abortion programs genocide is male rhetoric, for male ears. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

To label family planning and legal abortion programs genocide is male rhetoric, for male ears.


Quote: Not only am I literally and figuratively the dark horse, I'm actually the poor horse. The only thing that I have going for me is my soul and my commitment to the American people. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

Not only am I literally and figuratively the dark horse, I'm actually the poor horse. The only thing that I have going for me is my soul and my commitment to the American people.


Quote: I am and always will be a catalyst for change. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

I am and always will be a catalyst for change.


Quote: That's what's wrong with the country. There are too many 'good soldiers' accepting too many bad decisions. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

That's what's wrong with the country. There are too many 'good soldiers' accepting too many bad decisions.


Quote: America has the laws and the material resources it takes to insure justice for all its people. What it lacks is the heart, the humanity. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

America has the laws and the material resources it takes to insure justice for all its people. What it lacks is the heart, the humanity.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

America has the laws and the material resources it takes to insure justice for all its people. What it lacks is the heart, the humanity, the Christian love that it would take.


Quote: The minorities have been confined to the city by a moat of bigotry. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

The minorities have been confined to the city by a moat of bigotry.


Quote: There is a good deal of evidence that the United States is moving to the right, and that the main force behind the movement is a resurgence, in a new form, of racial prejudice. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

There is a good deal of evidence that the United States is moving to the right, and that the main force behind the movement is a resurgence, in a new form, of racial prejudice.


Quote: All Americans are the prisoners of racial prejudice. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

All Americans are the prisoners of racial prejudice.


Quote: I am not antiwhite, because I understand that white people, like black ones, are victims of a racist society. They are products of their time and place. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

I am not antiwhite, because I understand that white people, like black ones, are victims of a racist society. They are products of their time and place.


Quote: No matter what men think, abortion is a fact of life. Women have always had them; they always have and they always will. Are they going to have good ones or bad ones? Will the good ones be reserved for the rich, while the poor women go to quacks? by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

No matter what men think, abortion is a fact of life. Women have always had them; they always have and they always will. Are they going to have good ones or bad ones? Will the good ones be reserved for the rich, while the poor women go to quacks?




Quote: It is not heroin or cocaine that makes one an addict, it is the need to escape from a harsh reality. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

It is not heroin or cocaine that makes one an addict, it is the need to escape from a harsh reality.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

It is not heroin or cocaine that makes one an addict, it is the need to escape from a harsh reality. There are more television addicts, more baseball and football addicts, more movie addicts, and certainly more alcohol addicts in this country than there are narcotics addicts.


Quote: 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 would think, that our society is not yet either just or free. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

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 would think, that our society is not yet either just or free.


Quote: We have never seen health as a right. It has been conceived as a privilege, available only to those who can afford it. This is the real reason the American health care system is in such a scandalous state. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

We have never seen health as a right. It has been conceived as a privilege, available only to those who can afford it. This is the real reason the American health care system is in such a scandalous state.


Quote: Legal discrimination between the sexes is, in almost every instance, founded on outmoded views of society and the pre-scientific beliefs about psychology and physiology. It is time to sweep away these relics of the past and set further generations free of them. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

Legal discrimination between the sexes is, in almost every instance, founded on outmoded views of society and the pre-scientific beliefs about psychology and physiology. It is time to sweep away these relics of the past and set further generations free of them.


Quote: The difference between de jure and de facto segregation is the difference between open, forthright bigotry and the shamefaced kind that works through unwritten agreements between real estate dealers, school officials, and local politicians. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

The difference between de jure and de facto segregation is the difference between open, forthright bigotry and the shamefaced kind that works through unwritten agreements between real estate dealers, school officials, and local politicians.


Quote: We have been so patient and loyal ... and what has it gotten us? We want our full share now. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

We have been so patient and loyal ... and what has it gotten us? We want our full share now.




Quote: Of my two 'handicaps,' being female put more obstacles in my path than being black. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

Of my two 'handicaps,' being female put more obstacles in my path than being black.


Quote: Racism keeps people who are being managed from finding out the truth through contact with each other. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

Racism keeps people who are being managed from finding out the truth through contact with each other.


Quote: Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread and deepseated, that it is invisible because it is so normal. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread and deepseated, that it is invisible because it is so normal.


Quote: I ran because somebody had to do it first. In this country, everybody is supposed to be able to run for president, but that has never really been true. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

I ran because somebody had to do it first. In this country, everybody is supposed to be able to run for president, but that has never really been true.


Quote: I stand before you today to repudiate the ridiculous notion that the American people will not vote for qualified candidates simply because he is not white or because she is not a male. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

I stand before you today to repudiate the ridiculous notion that the American people will not vote for qualified candidates simply because he is not white or because she is not a male.


Quote: I have certainly met much more discrimination in terms of being a woman than being black, in the field of politics. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

I have certainly met much more discrimination in terms of being a woman than being black, in the field of politics.


Quote: I'm looking to no man walking this earth for approval of what I'm doing. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

I'm looking to no man walking this earth for approval of what I'm doing.


Quote: If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.


Quote: Of course laws will not eliminate prejudice from the hearts of human beings. But that is no reason to allow prejudice to continue to be enshrined in our laws -- to perpetuate injustice through inaction. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

Of course laws will not eliminate prejudice from the hearts of human beings. But that is no reason to allow prejudice to continue to be enshrined in our laws -- to perpetuate injustice through inaction.


Quote: My greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear, is my mouth, out of which come all kinds of things one shouldn't always discuss for reasons of political expediency. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

My greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear, is my mouth, out of which come all kinds of things one shouldn't always discuss for reasons of political expediency.


Quote: I want history to remember me... 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 who dared to be herself. I want to be remembered as a catalyst for change in America. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

I want history to remember me... 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 who dared to be herself. I want to be remembered as a catalyst for change in America.


Quote: When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.


Quote: I don't measure America by its achievement but by its potential. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

I don't measure America by its achievement but by its potential.


Quote: Congress seems drugged and inert most of the time... its idea of meeting a problem is to hold hearings or, in extreme cases, to appoint a commission. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

Congress seems drugged and inert most of the time... its idea of meeting a problem is to hold hearings or, in extreme cases, to appoint a commission.


Quote: You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.


Quote: There is little place in the political scheme of things for an independent, creative personality, for a fighter. Anyone who takes that role must pay a price. by author Shirley Chisholm overlaid on photo of photo of author Shirley Chisholm with quote

There is little place in the political scheme of things for an independent, creative personality, for a fighter. Anyone who takes that role must pay a price.


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