When Kamala Harris entered the 2020 U.S. Presidential race, she chose project materials through a sleek typeface and also red-and-yellow color scheme that mirrored those that the late politician Shirley Chisholm, who made background in 1972 after coming to be the an initial Black woman to contend for the democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Although neither Chisholm nor Harris won the presidency, they are amongst the numerous women presidential candidates who “helped to placed 18 million cracks” in “that highest, hardest glass ceiling,” together Hillary Clinton placed it after shedding the 2016 election.


As afri Americans, Chisholm and also Harris belong come a select group that Black women who’ve run for president, bucking society's often narrow expectation for females of their race.

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

Harris’s swearing-in ceremony together vice president on January 20, 2021, positioned her simply a heartbeat far from the nation’s greatest office. Her achievement follows in the footsteps of black women who ran because that president long before she did.

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“Black women are coalition builders,” says Glynda Carr, president and CEO of higher Heights for America, a black color women’s political advocacy group. “Oftentimes, you'll read in juniorg8.com about females or guys or ladies of shade who ran because that office, and also their candidacy might not have been viable, yet they create a coalition the leaders, an especially women.”


These space the Black females who have made a bid because that the greatest office in the country.

Charlene Mitchell


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

Gene Kappock/NY daily News/Getty Images


Although it’s been widely and also incorrectly reported the 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 gyeongju on the Communist Party ticket with running girlfriend Michael Zagarell, the party’s nationwide youth director. Mitchell’s platform included plans come fight racial and also economic injustice, yet she only showed up on the ballot in 2 states. 

Shirley Chisholm


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A politics poster because that U.S. Presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm, c. 1972.

Collection the the Smithsonian nationwide Museum of afri American background and Culture, Gifted with pride indigenous Ellen Brooks


With the motto “unbought and also unbossed,” Chisholm ran for president four years ~ Mitchell. She had already made juniorg8.com when she came to be the very first African American congresswoman in 1968, after having served in the brand-new York State Assembly. In her campaign, Chisholm seek to advocate for low-income people, women and also other marginalized groups. She additionally prioritized worries related to the employment and education sectors, together she had actually a lift in education.

“She realized at a particular point that nobody's walking to provide her an possibility unless she makes the opportunity happen for herself, and also she can do that because she had actually been employed together a school teacher, she had saved money and had a stable residence life, and she was supported by a team of politics activists in her political district,” Lynch says. But, she adds, Chisholm’s success in politics would not have actually happened there is no the social alters that the civil civil liberties movement had fostered. Chisholm died in 2005.


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Margaret Wright

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

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Isabell Masters

Educator Isabell Masters started her own political party, dubbed Looking Back, to operation on throughout the 1984, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns. Masters' five presidential projects are the most for any kind of woman in U.S. juniorg8.com. She died in 2011.