US Coins

Bill proposes posthumous award for Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm served seven terms as a congresswoman from New York.

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Sen. Laphonza R. Butler, R-California, introduced legislation May 2 seeking a congressional gold medal for posthumous award to Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress in 1968.

S. 4243 was introduced before referral to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

“Shirley Chisholm left a mark on our nation’s history that demands its own recognition,” said Butler. “She was a trailblazer — the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first to run for president — who opened doors for generations of Black women. It is my hope that the Shirley Chisholm Congressional Gold Medal Act honors her patriotism, leadership, and commitment to our nation. With her service to New York and our nation, she truly has earned it.”

The proposed legislation, if approved, would require that the U.S. Mint produce bronze duplicates of the gold medal for sale to the public.

Chisholm graduated from Brooklyn College and went on to earn her master’s degree from Columbia University. Chisholm dedicated her entire career to service, working in education and social services before becoming the second African American elected to the New York State Assembly in 1964. During her seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1969 to 1982, and her run for president of the United States in 1972, Shirley Chisholm was an outspoken advocate for women and minorities through legislation and leadership.

Nicknamed “Fighting Shirley,” she introduced 50 pieces of legislation and championed racial and gender equity, low-income communities, and the end of the Vietnam War.

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