58+ Best Shirley Chisholm Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Shirley Anita Chisholm was an American politician, educator, and author. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress. Profoundly inspirational Shirley Chisholm quotes will encourage you to think a little deeper than you usually would and broaden your perspective.

Famous Shirley Chisholm Quotes

At present, our country needs women’s idealism and determination, perhaps more in politics than anywhere else. – Shirley Chisholm

Tremendous amounts of talent are lost to our society just because that talent wears a skirt. – Shirley Chisholm

You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas. – Shirley Chisholm

When I die, I want to be remembered as a woman who lived in the twentieth century and who dared to be a catalyst of change. I don’t want to be remembered as the first black woman who went to Congress. And I don’t even want to be remembered as the first woman who happened to be black to make a bid for the Presidency I want to be remembered as a woman who fought for change in the twentieth century. That’s what I want. – Shirley Chisholm

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. – Shirley Chisholm

Which is more like genocide, I have asked some of my black brothers – this, the way things are, or the conditions I am fighting for in which the full range of family planning services is available to women of all classes and colors, starting with effective contraception and extending to safe, legal terminations of undesired pregnancies at a price they can afford? – Shirley Chisholm

I had met far more discrimination because I am a woman than because I am black. – Shirley Chisholm

Some fine men are in Congress, too few, trying to do a responsible job. But they are surrounded and almost neutralized by a greater number whose instinct is to make a deal before they make a decision. – Shirley Chisholm

One distressing thing is the way men react to women who assert their equality: their ultimate weapon is to call them unfeminine. They think she is anti-male; they even whisper that she’s probably a lesbian. – Shirley Chisholm

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

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. – Shirley Chisholm

Women know, and so do many men, that two or three children who are wanted, prepared for, reared amid love and stability, and educated to the limit of their ability will mean more for the future of the black and brown races from which they come than any number of neglected, hungry, ill-housed and ill-clothed youngsters. Pride in one’s race, as will simple humanity, supports this view. – Shirley Chisholm

I’d like them to say that Shirley Chisholm had guts. That’s how I’d like to be remembered. – Shirley Chisholm

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

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

As things are now, no one can tell to whom members of Congress are responsible, except that it does not often appear to be to the people. Everyone else is represented in Washington by a rich and powerful lobby, it seems. But there is no lobby for the people. – Shirley Chisholm

I stand before you today as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States. I am not the candidate of black America, although I am black and proud. I’m not the candidate of the women’s movement of this country, although I am a woman, and I’m equally proud of that. I am not the candidate of any political bosses or fat cats or special interests… I am the candidate of the people… – Shirley Chisholm

Rhetoric never won a revolution yet. – Shirley Chisholm

Be as bold as the first man or [woman] to eat an oyster. – Shirley Chisholm

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

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. – Shirley Chisholm

Our representative democracy is not working because the Congress that is supposed to represent the voters does not respond to their needs. I believe the chief reason for this is that it is ruled by a small group of old men. – Shirley Chisholm

As there were no black Founding Fathers, there were no founding mothers – a great pity, on both counts. – Shirley Chisholm

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. – Shirley Chisholm

I don’t measure America by its achievement but by its potential. – Shirley Chisholm

Some members of Congress are among the best actors in the world. – Shirley Chisholm

That’s what’s wrong with the country. There are too many ‘good soldiers’ accepting too many bad decisions. – Shirley Chisholm

As a black person I am no stranger to prejudice. But the truth is that in the political world I have been far more often discriminated against because I am a woman than because I am black. – Shirley Chisholm

The liberals in the House strongly resemble liberals I have known through the last two decades in the civil rights conflict. When it comes time to show on which side they will be counted, they excuse themselves. – Shirley Chisholm

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. – Shirley Chisholm

Political organizations are formed to keep the powerful in power. – Shirley Chisholm

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. – Shirley Chisholm

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. – Shirley Chisholm

Any time things appear to be going better, you have overlooked something. – Shirley Chisholm

I was well on the way to forming my present attitude toward politics as it is practiced in the United States; it is a beautiful fraud that has been imposed on the people for years, whose practitioners exchange gelded promises for the most valuable thing their victims own: their votes. And who benefits the most? The lawyers. – Shirley Chisholm

Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth. – Shirley Chisholm

Defeat should not be the source of discouragement, but a stimulus to keep plotting. – Shirley Chisholm

I ran for the presidency, despite hopeless odds, to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo. – Shirley Chisholm

The Constitution they wrote was designed to protect the rights of white, male citizens. As there were no black Founding Fathers, there were no founding mothers – a great pity, on both counts. It is not too late to complete the work they left undone. Today, here, we should start to do so. – Shirley Chisholm

I’ve always met more discrimination being a woman than being Black…men are men. – Shirley Chisholm

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

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

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. – Shirley Chisholm

Women must become revolutionary. This cannot be evolution but revolution. – Shirley Chisholm

I am and always will be a catalyst for change. – Shirley Chisholm

I love America not for what she is, but for what she can become. – Shirley Chisholm

The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, ‘It’s a girl.’ – Shirley Chisholm

I was the first American citizen to be elected to Congress in spite of the double drawbacks of being female and having skin darkened by melanin. When you put it that way, it sounds like a foolish reason for fame. In a just and free society it would be foolish. 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 think, that our society is not yet either just or free. – Shirley Chisholm

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

Most Americans have never seen the ignorance, degradation, hunger, sickness, and futility in which many other Americans live…They won’t become involved in economic or political change until something brings the seriousness of the situation home to them. – Shirley Chisholm

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. – Shirley Chisholm

Of my two handicaps, being female put many more obstacles in my path than being black. – Shirley Chisholm

We Americans have the chance to become someday a nation in which all radical stocks and classes can exist in their own selfhoods, but meet on a basis of respect and equality and live together, socially, economically, and politically. We can become a dynamic equilibrium, a harmony of many different elements, in which the whole will be greater than all its parts and greater than any society the world has seen before. It can still happen. – Shirley Chisholm

In the end antiblack, antifemale, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing – antihumanism. – Shirley Chisholm

I have never cared too much what people way. What I am interested in is what they do. – Shirley Chisholm

When the Kerner Commission told white America what black America has always known, that prejudice and hatred built the nation’s slums, maintains them and profits by them, white America could not believe it. But it is true. Unless we start to fight and defeat the enemies in our own country, poverty and racism, and make our talk of equality and opportunity ring true, we are exposed in the eyes of the world as hypocrites when we talk about making people free – (Chapter 9). – Shirley Chisholm

Don’t list to those who say YOU CAN’T. List to the voice inside yourself that says, I CAN. – Shirley Chisholm

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, – Shirley Chisholm

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