Vote and Honor Black History!

February 21, 2008

The election headlines are amazing:

Who’s Black and Female and How Do They Vote?
In Politics, Gender and Race Vie for Top Billing
Gender or Race: Black Women Voters Face Tough Choices in S.C.

Reports on CNN, NPR, and in the New York Times are raising the questions of race and gender in voting. The mighty Oprah, loved by legions of women and men of all races has been questioned for her choice in candidates. This is America, right? Is it so difficult for political pundits to conceive that I, a third-generation, college-educated black woman, can vote based on the issues, not on race or gender?

It’s Black History Month, so take a moment to educate yourself about blacks who have effected change in the U.S. government. Ida B. Wells, Fannie Lou Hamer, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Colin Powell, and Thurgood Marshall all advocated for change because America needed to change, not just because of melanin.

Black history is being made. However, neither Hillary nor Barack is the first to run for the presidency based on gender or race. Would the political playing field be different if Shirley Chisholm were still alive, making her second bid for the U.S. presidency?

I voted in a primary election. My party affiliation does not matter because I am honoring the legacy of my ancestors who fought for the 15th and 19th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. So in the words of former AAUW member Shirley Chisholm, “I am, was, and always will be a catalyst for change,” and I am making history.

By:   |   February 21, 2008

1 Comment

  1. Flora Gray says:

    While this may be the first election where either a woman or an African-American will be on the ballot for president, Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman to seek a major party’s presidential nomination in 1972. Thanks for the reminder about what a trailblazer she was (for Hillary, Barack and all of us)! A documentary film about her landmark campaign, “Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed,” was made just a few years back. Information about the film is available on the PBS P.O.V. website at http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2005/chisholm/index.html. Specifically interesting is the 1973 Ms. Magazine cover article by Gloria Steinem about her campaign.

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