Kamala Harris was not the first Black woman to seek the national ticket. Black women have consistently tried to stay involved in politics even when there was no room for them to participate. Striding to open up doors for the following generations, we now see the result being Sen. Kamala Harris receiving the Democratic nomination for vice president. However, a few more Black women campaigned to get into the White House.
Peta Lindsay – 2012
For the Party of Socialism and Liberation, 28-year-old Lindsay ran for the presidential election. As an anti-war activist, she spoke out publicly on her disapproval of US troops being deployed in Iraq. She also advocated for access to healthcare to black Americans and socioeconomic equality regarding employment. Though Lindsay was too young to make the national ticket, she understood the need for black liberation and saw the reform the government must go under to achieve it.
Cynthia McKinney – 2008
McKinney announced her candidacy as a Green Party nominee. Now a Democratic Representative of Georgia, she spent nearly 20 years serving in Congress since 1993. McKinney pushed tirelessly for more black representation in Congress as well as attempted to dismantle the traditionalist ideals of American culture that are so deeply ingrained in the government. McKinney also advocated for poor, lower-class Americans and fought against legislation barring women from getting abortions without access to healthcare.
Lenora Branch Fulani – 1988
After running for governor of New York as a New Alliance Candidate, Fulani ran for president under the party’s nomination. She ran again in 1992 with her campaign focused on political reform, the issue of police brutality against the black community and highlighting the concerns of socioeconomic racism and inequality. Fulani spoke out against the stereotypes perpetuated against the black community during the time and centered the issues facing minority communities at the forefront of her campaign.
Shirley Chisholm – 1972
Chisholm began her work in New York Congress in 1964. From gender equality to protesting the Vietnam War, Chisholm worked endlessly toward social justice for minorities, especially for those struggling in poverty. She was determined to make a way for black women, challenging the societal standards of the 60s. Upon announcing her Democratic nomination, she experienced discrimination when trying to campaign on television. Though, she made enough noise with one speech to enter over 10 primaries and leave a legacy for black women to remember.
Charlene Mitchell – 1968
Running as a candidate of the Communist Party, Mitchell was the first true black woman running for president. Her campaign wasn’t taken seriously by anyone except those who nominated her. However, she was determined to bring attention to her party and understand their motives toward reform. Mitchell was focused on black liberation and concerned about the economic disparity between the black and white communities. She took the radical route, but made outstanding moves to connect with activists and other black communities outside of the U.S.
Featured Image by Library of Congress
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