65 Shirley Chisholm Quotes On Success In Life

Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was the first African American woman in Congress (1968) and the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties (1972). Her motto and title of her autobiography—Unbossed and Unbought—illustrates her outspoken advocacy for women and minorities during her seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. This Shirley Chisholm quotes will motivate you.

Best Shirley Chisholm Quotes

  1. “You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  2. “Don’t list to those who say YOU CAN’T. Listen to the voice inside yourself that says, I CAN.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  3. “In the end anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing: anti-humanism.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  4. “Defeat should not be the source of discouragement, but a stimulus to keep plotting.” ~ Shirley Chisholm

  5. “The Constitution they wrote was designed to protect the rights of white, male citizens. As there were no black Founding Fathers, there were no founding mothers – a great pity, on both counts. It is not too late to complete the work they left undone. Today, here, we should start to do so.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  6. “I ran for the presidency, despite hopeless odds, to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  7. “I have never cared too much what people say. What I am interested in is what they do.” ~ Shirley Chisholm

  8. “Laws will not eliminate prejudice from the hearts of human beings. But that is no reason to allow prejudice to continue to be enshrined in our laws – to perpetuate injustice through inaction.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  9. “I’ve always met more discrimination being a woman than being Black…men are men.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  10. “Health is a human right, not a privilege to be purchased.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  11. “Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread and deep-seated, that it is invisible because it is so normal.” ~ Shirley Chisholm, Shirley Chisholm quotes on racism
  12. “I am and always will be a catalyst for change.” ~ Shirley Chisholm

  13. “Tremendous amounts of talent are lost to our society just because that talent wears a skirt.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  14. “At present, our country needs women’s idealism and determination, perhaps more in politics than anywhere else.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  15. “When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  16. “The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, ‘It’s a girl.'” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  17. “America has the laws and the material resources it takes to insure justice for all its people. What it lacks is the heart, the humanity.” ~ Shirley Chisholm

  18. “Most Americans have never seen the ignorance, degradation, hunger, sickness, and futility in which many other Americans live…They won’t become involved in economic or political change until something brings the seriousness of the situation home to them.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  19. “It is not heroin or cocaine that makes one an addict, it is the need to escape from a harsh reality. There are more television addicts, more baseball and football addicts, more movie addicts, and certainly more alcohol addicts in this country than there are narcotics addicts.” ~ Shirley Chisholm quotes
  20. “I was the first American citizen to be elected to Congress in spite of the double drawbacks of being female and having skin darkened by melanin. When you put it that way, it sounds like a foolish reason for fame. In a just and free society it would be foolish. That I am a national figure because I was the first person in 192 years to be at once a congressman, black and a woman proves, I think, that our society is not yet either just or free.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  21. “As things are now, no one can tell to whom members of Congress are responsible, except that it does not often appear to be to the people. Everyone else is represented in Washington by a rich and powerful lobby, it seems. But there is no lobby for the people.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  22. “Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.” ~ Shirley Chisholm

  23. “When I die, I want to be remembered as a woman who lived in the twentieth century and who dared to be a catalyst of change. I don’t want to be remembered as the first black woman who went to Congress. And I don’t even want to be remembered as the first woman who happened to be black to make a bid for the Presidency I want to be remembered as a woman who fought for change in the twentieth century. That’s what I want.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  24. “Women must become revolutionary. This cannot be evolution but revolution.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  25. “I love America not for what she is, but for what she can become.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  26. “My greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear, is my mouth, out of which come all kinds of things one shouldn’t always discuss for reasons of political expediency.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  27. “Be as bold as the first man or [woman] to eat an oyster.” ~ Shirley Chisholm

  28. “That’s what’s wrong with the country. There are too many ‘good soldiers’ accepting too many bad decisions.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  29. “There is a good deal of evidence that the United States is moving to the right, and that the main force behind the movement is a resurgence, in a new form, of racial prejudice.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  30. “I stand before you today as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States. I am not the candidate of black America, although I am black and proud. I’m not the candidate of the women’s movement of this country, although I am a woman, and I’m equally proud of that. I am not the candidate of any political bosses or fat cats or special interests… I am the candidate of the people…” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  31. “I don’t measure America by its achievement but by its potential.” ~ Shirley Chisholm

  32. “As there were no black Founding Fathers, there were no founding mothers – a great pity, on both counts.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  33. “Some members of Congress are among the best actors in the world.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  34. “Any time things appear to be going better, you have overlooked something.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  35. “We have never seen health as a right. It has been conceived as a privilege, available only to those who can afford it. This is the real reason the American health care system is in such a scandalous state.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  36. “Congress seems drugged and inert most of the time… its idea of meeting a problem is to hold hearings or, in extreme cases, to appoint a commission.” ~ Shirley Chisholm

  37. “That I am a national figure because I was the first person in 192 years to be at once a congressman, black, and a woman proves, I would think, that our society is not yet either just or free.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  38. “When the Kerner Commission told white America what black America has always known, that prejudice and hatred built the nation’s slums, maintains them and profits by them, white America could not believe it. But it is true. Unless we start to fight and defeat the enemies in our own country, poverty, and racism and make our talk of equality and opportunity ring true, we are exposed in the eyes of the world as hypocrites when we talk about making people free – (Chapter 9).” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  39. “Racism keeps people who are being managed from finding out the truth through contact with each other.” ~ Shirley Chisholm

  40. “My God, what do we want? What does any human being want? Take away an accident of pigmentation of a thin layer of our outer skin and there is no difference between me and anyone else. All we want is for that trivial difference to make no difference.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  41. “Political organizations are formed to keep the powerful in power.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  42. “Rhetoric never won a revolution yet.” ~ Shirley Chisholm

  43. “Our representative democracy is not working because the Congress that is supposed to represent the voters does not respond to their needs. I believe the chief reason for this is that it is ruled by a small group of old men.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  44. “The liberals in the House strongly resemble liberals I have known through the last two decades in the civil rights conflict. When it comes time to show on which side they will be counted, they excuse themselves.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  45. “As a black person I am no stranger to prejudice. But the truth is that in the political world I have been far more often discriminated against because I am a woman than because I am black.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  46. “… all Americans are the prisoners of racial prejudice.” ~ Shirley Chisholm

  47. “There is little place in the political scheme of things for an independent, creative personality, for a fighter. Anyone who takes that role must pay a price.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  48. “The difference between de jure and de facto segregation is the difference between open, forthright bigotry and the shamefaced kind that works through unwritten agreements between real estate dealers, school officials, and local politicians.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  49. “We have been so patient and loyal … and what has it gotten us? We want our full share now.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  50. “We Americans have a chance to become someday a nation in which all racial stocks and classes can exist in their own selfhoods, but meet on a basis of respect and equality and live together, socially, economically, and politically.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  51. “I’d like them to say that Shirley Chisholm had guts. That’s how I’d like to be remembered.” ~ Shirley Chisholm

  52. “Some fine men are in Congress, too few, trying to do a responsible job. But they are surrounded and almost neutralized by a greater number whose instinct is to make a deal before they make a decision.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  53. “I was well on the way to forming my present attitude toward politics as it is practiced in the United States; it is a beautiful fraud that has been imposed on the people for years, whose practitioners exchange gelded promises for the most valuable thing their victims own: their votes. And who benefits the most? The lawyers.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  54. “I had met far more discrimination because I am a woman than because I am black.” ~ Shirley Chisholm

  55. “Which is more like genocide, I have asked some of my black brothers – this, the way things are, or the conditions I am fighting for in which the full range of family planning services is available to women of all classes and colors, starting with effective contraception and extending to safe, legal terminations of undesired pregnancies at a price they can afford?” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  56. “One distressing thing is the way men react to women who assert their equality: their ultimate weapon is to call them unfeminine. They think she is anti-male; they even whisper that she’s probably a lesbian.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  57. “To label family planning and legal abortion programs “genocide” is male rhetoric, for male ears.” ~ Shirley Chisholm

  58. “I am not antiwhite, because I understand that white people, like black ones, are victims of a racist society. They are products of their time and place.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  59. “Of my two `handicaps,’ being female put more obstacles in my path than being black.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  60. “Women know, and so do many men, that two or three children who are wanted, prepared for, reared amid love and stability, and educated to the limit of their ability will mean more for the future of the black and brown races from which they come than any number of neglected, hungry, ill-housed and ill-clothed youngsters. Pride in one’s race, as will simple humanity, supports
    this view.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  61. “It is not heroin or cocaine that makes one an addict, it is the need to escape from a harsh reality.” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  62. “My God, what do we want? What does any human being want?” ~ Shirley Chisholm
  63. “The minorities have been confined to the city by a moat of bigotry.” ~ Shirley Chisholm

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