February is Black History Month! This month, we are going to highlight several important black Americans to honor the work that they have done in the effort to end homelessness and advocate for families with low-income. The first is Shirley Chisholm (1924 – 2005).Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman in Congress and the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one major political parties.
Before serving in Congress, Chisholm successfully ran for the New York State Assembly in 1964. Her major achievements included granting domestic workers unemployment benefits and a program that gave underprivileged students the opportunity to attend college while taking remedial education classes. In 1969, Chisholm was elected to serve in the US House of Representative. Her efforts to broaden the food stamp program and to establish the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) are among Chisholm’s lasting contributions as a congresswoman. In 1974, one of Chisholm’s most important pieces of legislation—the 1974 minimum wage law—passed through Congress. That bill expanded minimum wage standards to apply to domestic workers, as well as to more state and local government employees.
Shirley Chisholm was an important advocate for women and African Americans. She worked hard for low-income families, and we thank her for her efforts!