The Good Fight (Paperback)
The revered civil rights activist and pioneering member of Congress chronicles her groundbreaking 1972 run for President as the first woman and person of color—a work of immense historical importance that both captures and transcends its times, newly reissued to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of her campaign.
Before Kamala Harris, before Hillary Rodham Clinton there was Shirley Chisholm. In 1972, the Congresswoman from New York—the first Black woman elected to Congress—made history again when she announced her candidacy for President of the United States. Though she understood victory was a longshot, Chisholm chose to run “because someone had to do it first. . . . I ran because most people think the country is not ready for a black candidate, not ready for a woman candidate.”
In this invaluable political memoir, Chisholm reflects on her unique campaign and a nation at the crossroads of change. With the striking candor and straightforward style for which she was famous, Chisholm reveals the essential wheeling and dealing inherent to campaigning, castigates the innate conservatism and piety of the Black majority of the period, decries identity politics that lead to destructive power struggles within a fractious Democratic Party, and offers prescient advice on the direction of Black politics. From the whirlwind of the primaries to the final dramatic maneuvering at the tumultuous 1972 Democratic National Convention, The Good Fight is an invaluable portrait of twentieth-century politics and a Democratic Party in flux.
Most importantly, The Good Fight is the portrait of a reformer who dedicated her life to making politics work for all Americans. Chisholm saw her campaign as an extension of her political commitment; she ran as an idealist grounded in reality who used her opportunity and position to give voice to all the forgotten. This book bears the stamp of her remarkable personality and her commitment to speaking truth no matter the consequences.
Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman elected to the U.S. Congress in 1969 and was re-elected six times until she retired in 1983. While in office, she spoke out for civil rights and women’s rights, advocated for the poor, and opposed the Vietnam War. In 1972, she was the first African American person to run for the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States. In 2015, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. Chisholm wrote the autobiographical works Unbought and Unbossed (1970) and The Good Fight (1973).