Brooklyn native Shirley Chisholm will be featured nationally on a postage stamp. Jeanine Ramirez followed the following report.
Shirley Chisholm's portrait hangs at Brooklyn Borough Hall, right next to the nation's founding father. Appropriate, because Chisholm was also a first. In 1968, Chisholm was the first black woman elected to Congress where she served seven terms. The Bedford Stuyvesant resident was also the first African American man or woman to make a serious run for president in 1972. Now nine years after her death, the United States Postal Service will issue a Shirley Chisholm forever stamp.
"It's something that should be done for the country. And it's something that should be done for New York City and for the Chisholm family, so we are all grateful for the long process," said William Howard from the Shirley Chisholm Cultural Institute.
The push for a stamp for Chisholm began shortly after she died. Howard was Chisholm's campaign treasurer who now helps run the Shirley Chisholm Cultural Institute for Children. He says he pulled together a group of local elected officials to advocate for the stamp, with a big push coming from California.
"The person that really took the lead role was an intern in Chisholm's office back in the late 60's and 70's, and that's Congresswoman Barbara Lee out of California. Congresswoman Barbara Lee is the person that has championed the legacy of Shirley Chisholm in Washington," said Howard.
Chisholm's legacy includes serving in the New York State Assembly during the civil rights movement, representing Brooklyn in Congress, advocating for early childhood education and civil and women's rights.
"Shirley Chisholm and Billie Jean King were able to change Title 9 for women who, now and have been for many years, get scholarships equal to men in colleges and universities in sports," said Howard.
She was a Brooklyn College graduate. College staff will be among those at the stamp unveiling in Brooklyn Borough Hall on Friday. The school has the largest collection of Chisholm archival materials for its women's activism study. And surely the postage stamp will be a highlight of the collection.