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The first black woman elected to Congress is getting her own statue

Posted by
Emily Reynolds
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Shirley Chisholm was a trailblazer in American politics. 

A trailblazing woman politician is due to be honoured by New York City, who will be erecting a statue in her honour.

Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman elected to Congress, and was also the first woman to seek presidential candidacy with the Democratic Party and the first black woman to seek it in any major political party. 

Chisholm was selected after nearly 2000 nominations from citizens of New York. The statue is being funded and built by She Built NYC, an initiative designed to encourage the commission of public monuments honouring women.  The search began in June after officials acknowledged that there were not enough statues of women in the city.

It’s not the only way Chilsholm is due to be honoured, either – Oscar winner Viola Davis has also announced she’ll be starring in a biopic of the politician. 

The Fighting Shirley Chisholm, produced by Amazon and directed by Maggie Betts, will detail Chisholm’s rise to power and the struggles with racism and misogyny that she faced in doing so. 

Davis is the first black actress to be nominated for three Oscars, and is also a member of the exclusive ‘EGOT’ club, having won an Emmy, Golden Globe, Oscar and Tony. 

“Central Park is the most visited urban park in the US,” said Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen in an interview with CNN. “There are 132 statues in Central Park, and only one of them depicts a woman.”

“The ability to connect to our history happens in a very visual way. If you don’t see it, you may not believe it. And when you walk around the city and only see men, you may start to think that women didn’t matter, or perhaps that they didn’t do anything.”

“This is not about deleting history,” she concluded. “This is about filling out the American story. These women have always been part of it, we just want to exhume their achievements from the coffin of history.”

Image: Getty