University of Rochester

Shirley Chisholm Named Susan B. Anthony Professor

March 31, 1994

Shirley Chisholm, the renowned leader in the fight for equal rights for women and minorities and the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress, has been appointed to the distinguished Susan B. Anthony Professorship at the University of Rochester and will teach classes in the fall.

"Chisholm is a one-of-a-kind, authentic pioneer," said William S. Green, undergraduate dean in the College of Arts and Science. "She brings to our campus a unique American experience, along with a gift for teaching. It is rare for students to have the chance to spend sustained time with someone who has actually helped create the world in which they live. We are honored and privileged to have her as part of our faculty."

The former congresswoman has been named the Susan B. Anthony Professor for a two-month period next fall. During that time, she will teach "Women in Politics" (Political Science 246) with Nan Johnson, senior associate in the College of Arts and Science Dean's Office, and adjunct associate professor of political science. Johnson will conduct the beginning and ending lectures, and Chisholm will lecture from the end of September to the end of November. To be offered Tuesday and Thursday afternoons next fall, enrollment for "Women in Politics" will be limited to 120 students.

In addition, Chisholm will teach a one-hour course on Wednesdays entitled "Black Women in America" with Sharon Fluker, assistant dean in the College of Arts and Science, and director of minority student affairs. The time of the course will be announced later.

Chisholm is also expected to give two major addresses during her residence at the University. Details on dates and topics aren't yet available.

Chisholm's political career began in the early 1950s in Brooklyn's boss-run Democratic clubhouses, where she persistently challenged the inequities of machine politics. She came to be regarded as a troublemaking maverick, but one to be reckoned with, and eventually won election to the New York State Assembly in Albany. In 1968, Chisholm again beat the odds against her race and sex to win election to Congress and served until 1982, when she announced she would not seek re-election. She took a serious run at the presidency in 1972, becoming the first black woman to seek the nation's highest office.

In the summer of 1993, Chisholm was nominated by President Clinton to serve as Ambassador to Jamaica, an honor she declined, choosing instead to continue her efforts through teaching and writing to gain equal rights for all Americans.

She is the author of two books, Unbought and Unbossed, her autobiography, and The Good Fight, the story of her 1972 bid for the presidency.

Chisholm has earned praise and awards for her efforts on behalf of black colleges, compensatory education, minimum wage for domestics, Native Americans, Haitian refugees, migrant farm workers, and the poor. She is the co-founder of the National Political Congress of Black Women, which she headed from 1984 to 1992.

She holds a bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College, and a master's degree and professional diploma in educational supervision from Columbia University. She has received honorary doctorates from 31 institutions.

"Shirley Chisholm brings a message of activism and hope to our students at the University of Rochester," said Professor Celia Applegate, director of the Susan B. Anthony Center at the University. "In her life's work she has shown the courage, dedication and vision that defined the life of Anthony."