A Shirley thing! Obama awarding Medal of Freedom to legendary Brooklyn congresswoman - Brooklyn Paper

A Shirley thing! Obama awarding Medal of Freedom to legendary Brooklyn congresswoman

Unbought and unbossed: President Obama will award late Brooklyn Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Associated Press / James Palmer

President Obama will posthumously award late, great Brooklyn Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm the highest civilian honor in the land at a White House ceremony on Nov. 24

Chisholm was both the first black woman elected to Congress and the first black candidate to run for president for a major-party, and is among 17 notables Obama will pin with the coveted Presidential Medal of Freedom this year.

A Bedford–Stuyvesant native who got her start in politics as an assemblywoman, Chisholm was a feminist force of nature who fought for women’s rights and for equal education and employment opportunities for minorities during her tenure representing New York’s 12th Congressional District between 1969 and 1983.

In 1972, she made an unsuccessful but ground-breaking bid for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, announcing her candidacy at the Concord Baptist Church of Christ on Marcy Avenue.

Chisholm’s biggest fans reside at her alma mater Brooklyn College, where archive the Shirley Chisholm Project keeps the legendary lady’s legacy alive by documenting the history of women’s activism in the borough.

Obama will also award the top honor to former Brooklynite Barbra Streisand. Babs was born in Williamsburg and attended Erasmus Hall High School in Flatbush alongside Neil Diamond, but ditched the borough of Kings for Manhattan at 16 and now lives in California.

Previous Brooklyn-born recipients include top immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci and former Marine Corps general General Peter Pace.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.

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