When Kamala Harris gotten in the 2020 U.S. Presidential race, she chose campaign materials through a sleek typeface and red-and-yellow color scheme the mirrored those of the so late politician Shirley Chisholm, that made stillproud.org in 1972 after becoming the an initial Black woman to complete for the autonomous Party’s presidential nomination. Although no Chisholm no one Harris won the presidency, castle are among the many women presidential candidates that “helped to put 18 million cracks” in “that highest, hardest glass ceiling,” together Hillary Clinton placed it after losing the 2016 election.


As african Americans, Chisholm and also Harris belong to a pick group the Black females who’ve operation for president, bucking society's frequently narrow expectations for ladies of your race.

“As a woman of color, you cannot let the outside civilization define who you are due to the fact that if you do, you won't do or it is in anything,” claims Shola Lynch, manager of the 2004 documentary, “CHISHOLM ’72: Unbought & Unbossed,” and also curator of the Schomburg Center’s film and also recording archive.

Harris’s swearing-in ceremony together vice chairman on January 20, 2021, positioned her just a heartbeat far from the nation’s highest possible office. Her accomplishment follows in the footsteps of black women that ran because that president long prior to she did.

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“Black women room coalition builders,” states Glynda Carr, president and CEO of higher Heights for America, a black women’s politics advocacy group. “Oftentimes, you'll review in background about women or men or women of color who ran because that office, and their candidacy might not have actually been viable, however they produce a coalition that leaders, an especially women.”


These room the Black ladies who have made a bid for the highest possible office in the country.

Charlene Mitchell


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Charlene Mitchell, presidential candidate the the Communist party, c. 1968. 

Gene Kappock/NY day-to-day News/Getty Images


Although it’s been widely and incorrectly reported that Chisholm was the first Black woman to operation for president, Charlene Mitchell actually beat her to it. Just 38 in ~ the time, Mitchell gone into the 1968 presidential gyeongju on the Communist Party ticket through running friend Michael Zagarell, the party’s nationwide youth director. Mitchell’s platform included plans come fight racial and also economic injustice, yet she only appeared on the ballot in two states. 

Shirley Chisholm


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A politics poster because that U.S. Presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm, c. 1972.

Collection that the Smithsonian national Museum of african American stillproud.org and Culture, Gifted through pride native Ellen Brooks


With the motto “unbought and unbossed,” Chisholm ran for president 4 years after Mitchell. She had currently made background when she became the very first African American congresswoman in 1968, after having actually served in the new York State Assembly. In she campaign, Chisholm seek to support for low-income people, women and other marginalized groups. She also prioritized concerns related come the employment and education sectors, together she had actually a elevator in education.

“She realized at a particular point the nobody's walking to provide her an chance unless she provides the opportunity happen for herself, and she could do that because she had been employed as a college teacher, she had actually saved money and had a stable residence life, and also she was supported by a team of politics activists in her political district,” Lynch says. But, she adds, Chisholm’s success in politics would not have actually happened there is no the social changes that the civil civil liberties movement had actually fostered. Chisholm died in 2005.


READ MORE: Why Shirley Chisholm Ran for President

Margaret Wright

After Chisholm’s headline-making presidential bid, neighborhood organizer and civil rights activist Margaret bright ran top top the People’s Party ticket in 1976. A former factory worker and also Black Panther Party education and learning minister, bright cared deeply around such worries as education and learning reform, labor rights, and also racial equality. She passed away in 1996.

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Isabell Masters

Educator Isabell Masters started her very own political party, called Looking Back, to run on throughout the 1984, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns. Masters' five presidential projects are the many for any type of woman in U.S. stillproud.org. She passed away in 2011.