A Brief History in honor of the women who tried to become President, part 2.For the 20th century, I chose three women, who in 1972, tried to run for the Presidency.
Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005) was born in New York. In 1946, she graduated from Brooklyn College. In 1952 she went on to receive her master’s degree from Columbia Univ. Teachers College.
She directed the Hamilton-Madison Child Care Center (1953-1959); 1960 she helped form a Unity Democratic Club in New York; in 1964 elected to New York State Legislature. In 1968 she was the first black American woman elected to Congress, serving 7 terms, with an all-female staff. She was a founding member, and only woman member , of the Congressional Black Caucus. In 1970, she was the co-founder of the National Organization for Women (NOW).
In 1972, she became the first black woman to run for President seeking the Democratic Party nomination. She didn’t win, but she did receive 151 of the delegate votes, that Hubert Humphrey graciously released his black delegates to her. Alas, it wasn’t enough to secure the nomination.
She authored two books, “Unbought and Unbossed,” and “The Good Fight.”
One of her famous sayings was, “In the end anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing: anti-humanism.”
In 2015, she was awarded posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Patsy Mink (1927-2002) was born on the island of Maui. During her young life, she received many racial and gender challenges. Medical schools didn’t accept women. Finally, in 1951, she was accepted at the Univ. of Chicago law school. After graduation, she returned to her home state, as the first Japanese-American attorney to practice law in Hawaii. Yet, no law firm hired her. She then opened up her own practice.
In 1959, she became active in local politics. By 1964, she became the first minority woman elected to the U.S. Congress, eventually serving 12 terms.
In 1972, she put in a brief bid for the Democratic nomination t for presidency, but received only 2% of the votes and dropped out. Also, in 1972, she co-wrote and secured the passage Title 1X, prohibiting gender discrimination by federally funded institutions. After her death, in 2002, Title 1X was renamed Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act. President Obama, in 2004, posthumously awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her lifetime contribution to the country.
Last, I chose Linda Jenness (1941- ) born in Oklahoma, but lived most of her life in Georgia. She graduated from Antioch College, in Ohio, where she was quite outspoken on the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War.
As a young woman, she taught school in Spain. She joined the Young Socialist Alliance Cuban Revolution. In 1966, she became involved with the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP), active in leftist politics. In 1969, Fidel Castro invited her to visit Cuba. Also, in 1969, she became the SWP’s candidate for Mayor of Atlanta, and, in 1970, the Governor of Georgia, both to no avail. By 1970, she authored, “Woman and the Cuban Revolution.”
She was nominated by the SWP and candidate for President of the U.S. in the 1972 election. Her platform consisted of single payer med care, repealing anti-abortion laws, black control over the black community, and more.
Although she was only 31, under the legal age for the Presidency, she was on the ballot for the 3rd party in 25 states. She did qualify for the Ohio ballot, and then was removed due to her age. She received 83,380 votes, while her opponent, Richard Nixon received 47,169,911.
She stated, “Turning 35 doesn’t make you a genius, politically, as so many of our politicians have proven.” In 1975, she authored, “Last Hired, First Fired: Affirmative Action vs. Seniority.
I honor these 1972 contenders for their efforts in trying to open a pathway for women.