When Kamala Harris gotten in the 2020 U.S. Presidential race, she chose project materials v a sleek typeface and red-and-yellow shade scheme the mirrored those the the so late politician Shirley Chisholm, that made background in 1972 after ending up being the first Black woman to contend for the autonomous Party’s presidential nomination. Although neither Chisholm nor Harris won the presidency, lock are amongst the countless women presidential candidates who “helped to placed 18 million cracks” in “that highest, hardest glass ceiling,” as Hillary Clinton put it after shedding the 2016 election.


As afri Americans, Chisholm and Harris belong come a select group that Black ladies who’ve operation for president, bucking society's regularly narrow expectation for women of your race.

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

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

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


These room the Black women who have actually made a bid because that the highest office in the country.

Charlene Mitchell


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

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


Although it’s to be widely and incorrectly reported that Chisholm to be the first Black mrs to operation for president, Charlene Mitchell in reality beat her to it. Simply 38 at the time, Mitchell gone into the 1968 presidential race on the Communist Party ticket with running friend Michael Zagarell, the party’s nationwide youth director. Mitchell’s platform included plans to fight racial and also economic injustice, however she only appeared on the ballot in 2 states. 

Shirley Chisholm


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A political poster for U.S. Presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm, c. 1972.

Collection that the Smithsonian national Museum of african American medtox.org and Culture, Gifted v pride from Ellen Brooks


With the motto “unbought and also unbossed,” Chisholm ran for president four years after ~ Mitchell. She had currently made medtox.org when she became the very first African American congresswoman in 1968, after having actually served in the new York State Assembly. In her campaign, Chisholm sought to advocate for low-income people, women and other marginalized groups. She also prioritized worries related to the employment and education sectors, as she had actually a elevator in education.

“She establish at a specific point the nobody's going to offer her an chance unless she provides the opportunity take place for herself, and also she might do that since she had actually been employed as a institution teacher, she had actually saved money and also had a stable home life, and also she was sustained by a team of politics activists in she political district,” Lynch says. But, she adds, Chisholm’s success in national politics would not have actually happened without the social alters that the civil civil liberties movement had actually fostered. Chisholm passed away in 2005.


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Margaret Wright

After Chisholm’s headline-making presidential bid, ar organizer and also civil rights activist Margaret wright ran top top the People’s Party ticket in 1976. A former factory worker and also Black Panther Party education minister, wright cared deeply about such problems as education and learning reform, job rights, and also racial equality. She died in 1996.

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Isabell Masters

Educator Isabell Masters began her own political party, called Looking Back, to run on during the 1984, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns. Masters' 5 presidential campaigns are the many for any kind of woman in U.S. medtox.org. She passed away in 2011.