Unbossed & Unbought Exhibit

UNBOUGHT & UNBOSSED — A Tribute to Shirley Chisholm

Exhibition on view in the Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building
The Exhibit

Featuring historical images and works of art that tell the story of the civil rights and gender equality leader. 

Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building Main Lobby
55 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, New York
Open Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Policy and Politics
First Black Woman Elected to Congress
Photograph Portrait of Shirley Chisholm.


After serving four years in the New York State Assembly, Chisholm, boosted by her slogan, “Fighting Shirley Chisholm—Unbought and Unbossed,” became the first black woman elected to Congress, representing New York’s 12th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. Chisholm was elected by a two-to-one margin and eventually served seven terms. 

In 1966, she helped pioneer the National Organization for Women and was instrumental in creating the Special Supplement Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. Chisholm was a co-founder of the National Women's Political Caucus and in 1977 became the first black woman and second woman ever to serve on the powerful House Rules Committee.

Shirley Chisholm. Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress. 

Presidential Candidate
Catalyst for Change

In 1972, Chisholm was the first woman to make a committed run for the Democratic presidential nomination. As a catalyst for change, she campaigned across the country and succeeded in getting her name on 12 primary ballots and receiving 152 delegate votes at the Democratic National Convention. Her campaign inspired people to recognize the changes that were desperately needed in our country. Despite her losing, Chisholm was able to retain her seat in Congress and remained there until her retirement in January 1983.


Shirley Chisholm Campaign Button

Shirley Chisholm campaign button

An Outspoken and Effective Leader

Born in Brooklyn in 1924 to immigrant parents from the Caribbean, Chisholm died in 2005, but her legacy as an outspoken and effective leader lives on. Throughout her seven terms in Congress she found success building alliances and advocating change. Her legacy has been evident throughout New York and the nation. Brooklyn College houses a repository of women’s grassroots social activism in Brooklyn since 1945 called the Shirley Chisholm Project of Brooklyn Women’s Activism

On October 4, 2010, New York State honored Chisholm by naming 55 Hanson Place, the Shirley A. Chisholm New York State Office Building. In 2015, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.