Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed

A documentary that follows the career of little known (at least to the people I surveyed) black female politician Shirley Chisholm. It was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, so that gives you an indication to the quality of the film. Chisholm was the first black woman ever to run for President of the United States back in 1972. The documentary is truly a reflection of the woman herself as it does not bend or acquiesce to anyone. An inspiration for woman and minorities today – 37 years later.

Shirley Chisholm started off working as a teacher in Harlem, New York. She was a woman who strived for progress and this fight led her into a life of politics. First starting off with local politics followed by a seat in Congress and then finally running for the Presidency in the 1972 election.

The documentary is quite powerful in its use of archival footage and present-day interviews. Mixed in with the stuff on Chisholm herself are pieces on famous newsman Walter Cronkite and former congressman George Wallace.

Watching the documentary you can feel how strong this woman was and it is inspirational to see this "average" (yet not average) woman get so far just on sheer will. Even though she was told by everyone and their dog that it was ridiculous for her – a black woman – to run for the Presidency it did not deter her. The status quo was not something that she accepted. Her campaign was not a joke and really made many people sit up and listen.

"Chisholm '72" covers an important moment in the history of the United States and a turning point for women and minorities. It should be obligatory watching material for all.

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