Stamp Honors First Black Congresswoman and Bed-Stuy Icon Shirley Chisholm

By Paul DeBenedetto on February 4, 2014 8:16am 

 The United States Postal Service unveiled a new Shirley Chisholm stamp.
The United States Postal Service unveiled a new Shirley Chisholm stamp.
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USPS and Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, NYWT&S Collection, LC-USZ62-135429

BROOKLYN — A new stamp from the United States Postal Service is celebrating the life of Bed-Stuy native Shirley Chisholm, the country's first black congresswoman who later ran for president in 1972.

The stamp, part of the USPS "Black Heritage Series," was originally painted by American artist Robert Shetterly as part of his "Americans Who Tell the Truth Series."

The Bed-Stuy born Democrat served seven terms in Congress, from 1969 until her retirement in 1982, representing central Brooklyn and becoming a founding member of the House of Representatives' black caucus in 1969. She died in 2005.

At the time of her 1972 presidential campaign, Chisholm was the first person of color to seek the presidential nomination of a major political party. She ran in order to show underrepresented members of society that their faces could also be seen in the spotlight, she said.

"I ran because somebody had to do it first,” Chisholm said at the time.

On Friday, black elected officials and activists celebrated her legacy at the stamp's Brooklyn Borough Hall unveiling.

"Congresswoman Chisholm's groundbreaking and historic advocacy for women and the African-American community across the nation is a source of constant strength and inspiration, as I serve many of the same communities she represented," Assemblyman Walter Mosely said.

"Every day when I walk into my office at the Shirley Chisholm State Office Building and am greeted by her portrait outside my door, I am reminded of her legacy as one of the greatest catalysts for change of the 20th century.”

The stamps are currently available for purchase at USPS locations or online.

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