Black Experience

Bill Reintroduced to Honor Shirley Chisholm with Capitol Statue

Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) reintroduced a bill Thursday to commission a statue of former New York Rep. Shirley Chisholm to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol.

If passed, the memorial to the late legislator will list among the statues and busts of four other African Americans that include Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr. and Sojourner Truth.

“For the first time in history, there are more than 20 Black women serving in the United State Congress—and we all stand on the shoulders of Shirley Chisholm,” Harris said. “Shirley’s legacy inspires us to continue our fight to give a voice to the voiceless and pursue justice and equality for every American. Her legacy deserves to stand tall in the United States Capitol.”

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), who introduced companion legislation for the bill, expressed admiration for Chisolm’s work toward ensuring adequate services and programs for those in need.

“[She] used the authority of her experience to create nutrition assistance programs, expand health care services for parents and children, increase the minimum wage, support the veterans of our Armed Forces, and provide opportunities for women in college, graduate school, and collegiate and professional sports with the enactment of Title IX,” Clarke said. “For this and countless other reasons, Congress should honor Chisholm’s life and living legacy and her contribution to advancing civil and human rights by among other defining figures in our nation’s history.”

Chisholm, who died in 2005, served in the New York State Assembly before becoming the first Black woman to be elected to the United States Congress, where she served seven terms. She was also a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the first Black woman to seek a major party’s nomination for president.

In addition to Harris, the bill is co-sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and fellow Democratic Sens. Ed Markey (Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Chris Coons (Del.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Tina Smith (Minn.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Bernie Sanders (Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), and Patty Murray (Wash.).

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