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Shirley Chisholm, America’s First Black Congresswoman, Is Getting a Statue in Brooklyn

December 3, 2018

Kadir Nelson, Shirley Anita Chisholm (2009), Congress's official portrait of the first African-American woman to serve in Congress. Collection of the US House of Representatives.



As part of New York City’s efforts to rectify the vast gender imbalance among its statues, First Lady Chirlane McCray and Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen announced on Friday that the first monument commissioned under the new She Built NYC initiative will honor US Representative Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to congress. The statue will stand at the entrance to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.


“Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s legacy of leadership and activism has paved the way for thousands of women to seek public office,” said McCray in a statement. “She is exactly the kind of New York woman whose contributions should be honored with representation in our public spaces.”


The announcement came in time to commemorate late congresswoman’s 94th birthday and the 50th anniversary of her election to the House of Representatives, in November 1968. The New York City native was also the first woman to seek the Democratic presidential nomination, in 1972. (On Friday, Amazon Studios announced that Academy Award winner Viola Davis will play the title role in the upcoming film The Fighting Shirley Chisholm.)


In August, the city launched She Built NYC, led by the Department of Cultural Affairs, with an open call, inviting t