Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm became the first black woman elected to congress in 1968, eventually representing New York’s 12th Congressional District for seven terms. In 1972, she became the first major party black candidate for President of the United States and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Shola Lynch’s award-winning feature length documentary chronicles the congresswoman and her historic bid for the highest office in the land. Chisholm announced her bid for the Democratic nomination for president to her supporters in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn in January of 1972. What followed that announcement were events filled with intrigue, backstabbing, mud-slinging, and blatant disrespect. Along with displays of conviction, loyalty, and unflagging support, her candidacy provoked disbelief, discussion, and debate. Whether viewed as a novelty or a political savior, Shirley Chisholm could not be ignored.
The 2006 Peabody Award winning CHISHOLM ’72 – Unbought & Unbossed is Shola Lynch’s directorial debut. She is currently developing and fundraising for a feature documentary project about Angela Davis and the events that catapulted her to international notoriety in 1970 – 72. In addition Lynch has produced and written pieces for BET and TV One as well as produced, written, and reported for CNN’s Anderson Copper 360.
Lynch learned the craft of documentary making on the job. She worked with Ken Burns and Florentine Films on the Peabody Award-winning Frank Lloyd Wright and the ten-part JAZZ series. She has also worked on the Emmy Award winning Do You Believe in Miracles? The Story of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team, an HBO Sports documentary that is part of the Sports in the Twentieth Century series. At Orlando Bagwell’s ROJA Productions, she co-produced a documentary short about the 2000 Census and racial identity that was included in the last hour of the four-part series on race in America, Matters of Race, which aired on PBS in 2003. Recently Lynch has finished writing and producing pieces for BET as well as a short series on incarceration in America for CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.
Lynch grew up in New York City, where she currently lives with her husband. She became part of the PBS family as a regular on Sesame Street from age 2-6. As a nationally ranked track athlete in the 800m and 1500m, she pursued her Olympic aspirations with the Lady Long Horns at the University of Texas while completing a Liberal Art Honors BA. Her most important life lesson derives from an athletic career that spanned 15 years of national and internationally competition. “The lesson is not one of being a champion but the payoff of perseverance in the pursuit of a goal,” she says.
Lynch also has a master’s degree in American history from the University of California at Riverside that culminated in a thesis and an exhibition at the California Museum of Photography titled “How Far Have We Come? Past and Present Images of African Americans.”
Chisholm, Shirley. The Good Fight. New York: Harper & Row, 1973.
Chisholm’s candid account of her 1972 presidential bid.
Chisholm, Shirley. Unbought and Unbossed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970. Unbought and Unbossed is Shirley Chisholm's account of her remarkable rise from young girl in Brooklyn to America's first African-American Congresswoman. She shares how she took on an entrenched system, gave a public voice to millions, and sets the stage for her trailblazing bid to be the first woman and first African-American President of the United States. By daring to be herself, Shirley Chisholm shows us how she forever changed the status quo. This expanded edition, edited by Scott Simpson, digs deeper with analysis by experts like Donna Brazile and Shola Lynch exploring Shirley Chisholm’s impact on today and tomorrow’s world.
Giddings, Paula. When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America. New York: Bantham Books, 1984. When and Where I Enter is an eloquent testimonial to the profound influence of African-American women on race and women's movements throughout American history. Drawing on speeches, diaries, letters, and other original documents, Paula Giddings powerfully portrays how black women have transcended racist and sexist attitudes--often confronting white feminists and black male leaders alike--to initiate social and political reform.
Duffy, Susan, comp. Shirley Chisholm: A Bibliography of Writings by and About Her. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1988.
A compilation of writings by and about Shirley Chisholm.