Shirley Chisholm

Born on November 30, 1924, Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman to serve in the United States Congress. An early education expert from New York City, Chisholm began working with local political organizations and in 1964 won a seat on the New York state legislature, representing her Brooklyn neighborhood. Four years later, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Serving seven terms (14 years) in Congress, Chisholm helped open up opportunities for people like President Barack Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren. But she said she didn’t want to be remembered as the first woman or African American to do something. She wanted to be remembered as someone who “had guts.” She died on January 1, 2005.