By Nia Nelson, Junior
Women, especially, have displayed the efforts that can be made to enforce change in a society that becomes impactful largely, without being aggressive or harming. Dorothy Height, an African-American woman who was an American administrator, social service educator, civil rights, and women’s rights activist; and Shirley Chisholm, an African-American woman who was a notable politician, educator, author, and activist both have dedicated their life to serving the people of society. Both Height and Chisholm were dedicated to solving the injustice of gender and racial discrimination through their fight to educate fellow African-Americans.
In National Women’s History Museum Online, Debra Michals explains that, Shirley Chisholm was one of the co-founders of the National Women's Political Caucus(NWPC) (1971), and she served on the powerful House Rules Committee (1977) as the first black woman and second women ever. The purpose of the organization was to get women and women of color more involved in politics in legislation and as lawmakers. She also ran for and became the second African-American in the New York state legislature (1964). Chisholm made many public speeches, that championed racial and gender equality by getting involved in politics herself. A noticeable speech she given was on August 10, 1970, on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in seeking and demanding support for the Equal Rights Amendment. Most significantly, in 1972, Shirley Chisholm was the first woman to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Chisholm displayed that even though things are impossible, you can still spark change and influence by encouraging future delegates and representative of minorities including women, African-Americans and Native people.
According to the history of the National Women’s Political Caucus Online, Dorothy Height, president of the National Council of Negro Women was listed one of the founders of the National Women’s Political Caucus. As a prominent member of the NWPC, her goals were to eliminate gender discrimination, which was important to bring awareness to the lack of equal representation, and—more importantly—the attention to African-American women. Height’s voice was powerful and influential, there was no need for excessive force. Height was successful in the significant increase of women in politics. According to the history of the National Women’s Political Caucus Online, “In 1971, women numbered just 363, or 4.7 percent, of state legislators; today, they are 1,738, or 23.5 percent.” Now other women were politically involved, they could represent the women population and meet their needs.
Both women broke barriers in their own ways, participating at the highest levels of the Civil Rights Movement. Their lives are examples how women can be role models and influence the ideals of perseverance, equality and justice for generations.