Even as a young child growing up in the 1920's, Shirley Chisholm was a leader. At the age of three, older children were already following her lead in their Brooklyn neighborhood. As a student at Brooklyn College, Shirley could out-talk anyone who opposed her on the debate team. After graduating, she used her voice and leadership to fight for educational change. In community groups, she stood up for the rights of women and people of color.
In 1964, Shirley took her voice and leadership to politics, becoming the first Black woman elected to the NYS Assembly, and in 1968, the first Black woman elected to Congress. Then in 1972, she became the first Black woman to seek the presidency of the United States. She pushed for laws that helped women, children, students, poor people, farm workers, Native people, and others who were often ignored. She fought for healthcare. She spoke up for military veterans. She spoke out against war.