We're Here, Too: Black Women & Erasure in Civil Rights Movements
Updated: May 31, 2020
A lot of people think of Hillary Clinton as a pioneer in politics (*eyeroll*), believing that she was one of the first women to ever run her own presidential campaign and gain real political traction. Not so.
In 1972, Shirley Chisholm ran for president with the slogan "Unbought and Unbossed." And she. Was. Goddamned magnificent.
Some tend to forget that although the 70's are commonly seen as the "freedom" years, black women were anything but. Antiquated gender roles were still enforced and encouraged for women. Black people were not only largely considered to be highly inferior by white people, it was still socially acceptable to act on that belief without any fear of reproach.
Being a black woman, Shirley Chisholm had to contend with more than just sexism. And not only did she knock down those barriers, she freaking destroyed them and made history, showing black women of the time that they were capable of doing great things in spite of being faced with an overtly racist, sexist society.
It's absolutely appalling that in 2017, entire decades later, black women and other women of color still face that same racist, sexist bullshit.
2017 does have one silver lining--black women are more united than ever. Online and IRL, we've become each other's support systems, allies, and friends during an uncertain and quite frankly, frightening period in time.
Black women are often the backbone of civil rights movements, yet are rarely spoken about as being as important as our male counterparts.
Well, guess what. We are. And women like Shirley Chisholm are proof of that.