Shirley Chisholm, born November 30, 1924, was an American politician, author, and educator. She was Congresswoman for New York’s 12th Congressional District for seven terms between 1969 to 1983. Chisholm was the first African-American woman elected to Congress (1968), and was also the first major party black candidate/first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1978. She died on January 1, 2005.
These commencement speeches were given upon graduation at Mount Holyoke and Smith College in 1975. Shirley Chisholm addressed racism, sexism, mental inertia and apathy before Smith’s graduating class of 1975. At Mount Holyoke, then Connecticut Governor Ella T. Grasso spoke of gender equality and women in politics. This was originally broadcast June 1, 1975, on WFCR’s Women’s Forum.
Ella T. Grasso, born May 10, 1919, was an American politician of the Democratic party who served as Governor of Connecticut from 1975 to 1980. She was the fourth woman elected to the office, and is known for being elected of her “own right” (the three women preceding her had been married to men who had been governors of other states). She died from ovarian cancer on February 5, 1981, and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan. She was later inducted to the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
[gtalert title=”Note” title_color=”#699bb1″ close_button=”no” border_style=”none” border_radius=”4″]AudioFiles is a production of New England Public Radio. The interviews, anecdotes, and oral histories recorded for AudioFiles are designed to build a public audio library of the western New England experience, and are not intended as news content, or endorsements by NEPR’s staff or Board. For more information, contact AudioFiles producer, J Kyle Sullivan.[/gtalert]