Titled "UNBOUGHT & UNBOSSED: A Tribute to Shirley Chisholm," the Exhibit Features Historical Images and Works of Art that Tell the Story of the Civil Rights and Gender Equality Leader
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new exhibit that pays tribute to Shirley A. Chisholm is now open in the foyer of the Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building at 55 Hanson Place in Brooklyn. Titled "UNBOUGHT & UNBOSSED: A Tribute to Shirley Chisholm," the exhibit features historical images and works of art that tell the story of the civil rights and gender equality leader.
"Shirley Chisholm's signature campaign slogan 'unbought and unbossed' reminds us of her dedication to fight to defend the rights of women and black Americans, reform the country's education system and improve the lives of working people and those living in poverty," Governor Cuomo said. "This exhibit celebrates the 50th anniversary of Shirley Chisholm's inaugural year representing her Brooklyn district as the first black woman elected to serve in Congress and honors her deep impact on politics that we still feel to this day."
"Throughout my career in public service, I've looked to Shirley Chisholm as an inspiration, a role model, and a strong woman who fought to improve our nation," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This exhibit honors her 50th anniversary representing Brooklyn in Congress, and showcases her efforts fighting for civil rights and gender equality. We continue our efforts to achieve equal rights and protections for all New Yorkers in the name of pioneers like Shirley Chisholm who led the way before us."
In three sections, the exhibition highlights Chisholm's "Politics & Policy," "Presidential Candidate," and "Legacy."
Politics and Policy
After serving four years in the New York State Assembly, Chisholm, boosted by her slogan, "Fighting Shirley Chisholm—Unbought and Unbossed," became the first black woman elected to Congress, representing New York's 12th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. Chisholm was elected by a two-to-one margin and eventually served seven terms.
In 1966, she helped pioneer the National Organization for Women and was instrumental in creating the Special Supplement Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. Chisholm was a co-founder of the National Women's Political Caucus and in 1977 became the first black woman and second woman ever to serve on the powerful House Rules Committee.
In 1972, Chisholm was the first woman to make a committed run for the Democratic presidential nomination. As a catalyst for change, she campaigned across the country and succeeded in getting her name on 12 primary ballots and receiving 152 delegate votes at the Democratic National Convention. Her campaign inspired people to recognize the changes that were desperately needed in our country. Despite her losing, Chisholm was able to retain her seat in Congress and remained there until her retirement in January 1983.
Born in Brooklyn in 1924 to immigrant parents from the Caribbean, Chisholm died in 2005, but her legacy as an outspoken and effective leader lives on. Throughout her seven terms in Congress she found success building alliances and advocating change. Her legacy has been evident throughout New York and the nation. Brooklyn College has housed a repository of women's grassroots social activism in Brooklyn since 1945 called the Shirley Chisholm Project of Brooklyn Women's Activism.
Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, "We are proud to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Shirley A. Chisholm's first year in the U.S. House of Representatives with this exhibit and hope the people who work and visit the Chisholm State Office Building will take the opportunity to learn more about this extraordinary public servant."
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries said, "Shirley Chisholm famously said to bring a folding chair if they don't give you a seat at the table and that's what she did all her life. Whether it was her groundbreaking election to Congress in 1968, or her historic run for President, she never stopped fighting to make sure every voice was heard. Governor Cuomo is to be commended for this important effort to honor Shirley Chisholm's legacy."
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "Shirley Chisholm shattered glass ceilings and inspired countless African American women to spark change and pursue public service. She famously said that 'if they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair,' and it is because of giants like her, that I don't need to bring my folding chair to meetings any longer. I hope the UNBOUGHT & UNBOSSED: A Tribute to Shirley Chisholm exhibit helps more New Yorkers learn about this extraordinary, trailblazing leader."
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, "Shirley Chisholm is a progressive icon. From her time here in the People's House to the halls of Congress and on the trail as a presidential candidate, she fought to make our state and country a better place - regardless of race or gender. This exhibit will give everyone who comes into the Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building the opportunity to learn about the woman who fought for civil rights and gender equality, and remained unbought and unbossed."
Senator Velmanette Montgomery said, "Shirley Chisholm's legacy and unwavering support for the most vulnerable in our communities will never be forgotten. By honoring her many successes throughout her public service, this exhibit highlights all that she was able to accomplish, as well as her leadership and fearlessness."
Assembly Member Walter T. Mosley said, "The Honorable Shirley Chisholm began her career in the People's House, in the New York State Assembly serving as a trailblazer for so many of us currently serving our legislature. She was unbossed and unbought as she continued to surpass every expectation in a time and era where she was vastly underestimated. She would go on to set a trend for others, like myself and my colleagues to follow. I thank Governor Cuomo for this exhibit paying tribute to the one of the most influential people in the history of New York State and our nation."
New York City Council Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo said, "Shirley Chilsolm represented the best of us. From her earliest days running a day care to serving in Congress, and her historic Presidential run - she was a true original. This exhibit is an extension of the indelible legacy she has left for future generations. Brooklyn is forever grateful."
On October 4, 2010, New York State honored Chisholm by naming 55 Hanson Place, the Shirley A. Chisholm New York State Office Building. In 2015, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
The Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building, located at 55 Hanson Place in Brooklyn, is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visitors will be subject to a security screening before entering the public exhibit space.
Visitors may park at any available parking spaces on the streets surrounding the facility. There is also paid parking available directly across the street at the Atlantic Center Mall.