Analysis & Comment

Opinion | Gloria Steinem: I Did Not Abandon Shirley Chisholm

To the Editor:

Re “2019 Belongs to Shirley Chisholm” (Sunday Review, July 7):

In Jennifer Steinhauer’s welcome essay on the historic importance of Shirley Chisholm’s 1972 candidacy for the presidency of the United States, there is a phrase that is hurtful and not true. She writes that Ms. Chisholm “was abandoned by white feminists like Gloria Steinem.”

In fact, I ran on the New York ballot as a delegate pledged to Ms. Chisholm’s candidacy. I also had the honor of being asked by her campaign manager to write the televised speech she finally was allowed to give after being “whited out” of a debate opportunity afforded to other candidates, and had to sue to get equal time on air. I supported her candidacy in the 12 states in which her name was on the ballot. In those states and others, I raised money for her national campaign, which single-handedly took the “white male only” sign off the White House door.

In later years, we continued to work together as co-founders of the National Women’s Political Caucus and as co-founders of the 1977 National Women’s Conference held in Houston, on legislation and on her campaigns. At Brooklyn College, where her papers are well kept, I was asked to give the keynote address on Shirley Chisholm Day in 2008.

I’m grateful that Shirley Chisholm, an early leader against the Vietnam War, will be celebrated by a statue in Brooklyn that honors her work for peace and equality.

Gloria Steinem
New York

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