tv Reel America Life and Career of Shirley Chisholm CSPAN September 5, 2020 8:57am-10:01am EDT
how do you explain this incredible year? --ely: the american people shirley: we feel a cynicism and we have known it when we are addressing the selection of the president. the people feel that they are democrats or republicans that is all part of the same old traditional package, that there needs to be changed in america. and that if the change does not programs andthe genders and plans of the two parties, americans have gotten to the point where they are
willing to make that change outside of the regular two-party structure. how -- howdy think we got to that point? what is it that got us to that point? how did the parties get disconnected from the people? shirley: first of all, the patriots -- the parties have not been able to be patronage. many of the clubhouses and district local offices pertaining to partisan politics are no longer in the communities across this nation. it seems to me that people became very disinterested. as a result of a series of experiences in this country that career gate at,
cannes, watergate. and then during the past 12 years, the fantastic scandals that came about. really, where they are not really holding on to inlowing persons necessarily either one of the two parties. in other words, they are saying enough is enough. we are now at this point, in 1992, to really do something to bring about the change. the travel throughout country come in the farm communities, the rural communities, and inner cities, you find people saying the same thing over and over again in different terms. they are fed up. don't ask me about issues i mean if you know we want somebody is going to bring about change that's the most important word now that you hear constantly. everybody is talking about change. >> do you think -- is that your
explanation for the appeal of ross perot. yes i think it's part of. it's part of the appeal they're seeing ross perot. all the notice from the little bit they have heard is that he has been a man of action. he doesn't talk a whole lot. he gets things done. he is an activist, and the american people are becoming sick and tired of the same political rhetoric every four years from both parties, only to find that when either one of the two parties lands in the white house that nothing really i feel they are reeling this time out to really even follow a ross perot if they have to because they know that their
quality of life has deteriorated so badly that he couldn't be possibly any worse in terms of responding to their needs that either one of the individuals to parties, a strange phenomena. >> you grew up in the democratic party -- do you think it's going to survive this election cycle. -- cycle? shirley: the democratic party won't survive the. it will be right but i'm quite sure that it is going to survive but i also sense. a growing growing disenchantment. we may have in the very near future, establishment of a third-party, not based on race, however, but will be based on class. when you go out into farm community it's amazing to hear , the farmers tell you you know they'll say to me, it is time for a third-party. you know farmers. they have been loyal to their republican party or to the democratic party. you do not think of them as up.cal, but they are fed
i see the possibility of a third party evolving sometime within the next six to eight years. >> are americans ideological, or do they want things to get done? shirley: i don't think americans are basically ideological. i really believe that they want to get things done they have seen their taxpaying dollars being utilized for all kinds of foreign aid programs abroad. they have been waiting on the peace dividend, because it was promised to them, and now the , and wehe elf is over will use the money now to rebuild cities and towns. that we would now say would like to get a change. can you imagine people getting to the point where they don't
even know what the candidate really stands for? what is his agenda? black and white say to me straight, i don't care what mr perot spends for. i'm not interested -- he's a man of action. i think that's very dangerous when people in this country get to the point that they're not really interested and want the gentleman, the other candidate's overall agenda is, because they are fed up. >> the 20th anniversary of your 1972.ce for president in what thinking did you have when you announced for president and how was it received? place, myn the first run for president was based on the two states in the union. the people told me, again, it's interesting, we have got to change the government. the time has come on we have to
move in the direction of hoping that someday, somewhere, somehow, a black man or a woman can be president. a black person rather a woman can be president. mrs titian. , you have theholm knowledge of the issues. you articulate well. you are not a phony. you become a catalyst. that's how all of that in the state of florida and minnesota. those two states. and at that time in 1972, florida had a less than a 10% black population and minnesota had only a 3% but population. >> why those two states? i emerged,en everyone wanted to know who this woman was the first person of her sex and race to enter the united states helps of
representatives -- house of representatives? i did a lot of speaking and he found out i was fairly intelligent. i was not afraid, and they said that we desire that you again to help bring about some change in america and i was so i was , afraid. >> i was afraid because i said , buton't run for president you need to have a basis and a feeling. and i didn't ask for money but amazingly with three months time, the state of florida raised just $10,000 each. i never believed this would have happened. it happened and then i had to make my mind up. i said, no, you can't go back. to throughout a challenge
them and you can't do this for people. up then that i was going to run for president. >> when did you announced and to whom? i announced at the baptist church. >> i stand to you as a candidate for the democratic nomination for the presidency of the united states of america. [laughter] in the midst of my congressional district, which was the 12th, i announced the people of the community and a number of friends that were aware of my announcement and came in from cities, particularly along the eastern seaboard, the church was jammed with close to 2000 people. and the excitement that was there and all of the enthusiasm that was there, that a black woman for the first time in the
united states of america had the audacity and the nerve to say she wanted to guide ship of state, she wanted to be president. i can see the picture so now. it was so exciting. but beneath the excitement of the idea of persons other than a white male could be president, was part of an entire drama. why is it that in the united states of america only white males could be president? so here i was not only a woman, but a black person, so therefore i was representing, in a sense, a black person and a female person. -- my campaign in the beginning, there was a lot of black women around me. believe you me, it was not easy. right after i made that announcement, and i began to now
visit different parts of the country, and there were in need ll broke loose,he and the reason is that how dare you? have you forgotten that you are a woman? have you forgotten you are black and you want to be president? >> who's telling you these things? shirley: a lot of the black males at this time had a very negative feeling about my announcement, and a lot of the white males. it was the males primarily that gave me the fit. i could remember so distinctly so many incidents in which show they felt i was going in the wrong direction. >> can you think of one incident and name one name? it is 20 years, you know. >> shirley: i know that in terms of the black males, it was felt.
them,t want to call on but there are so many of them who had the same feeling. they really felt that if indeed a black person is going to make a bid for the presidency that it shouldn't be a black woman, it should be a black male. the black males were annoyed with me, because they were having this big conference in gary indiana, this black conference where mr. hatcher was the mayor and they were coming together to find a black person to run for president. shirley chisholm had jumped the like, wherey felt does she think she's doing? she didn't get our approval. i would never get their approval, because they would feel i was crazy and needed to be placed in a straitjacket. thousands in this
country who raise the money for me to make the bid. i possessed leadership qualities, had a clear understanding of the issues, i was a fearless woman, and i was intelligent. that was all. the only thing that bothered a lot of folks was i was black and i was a women -- woman. did the women's groups that existed at the time respond to your candidacy? it would have happen and some of them responded positively and some did not. but the women in the south responded to my candidacy more sincerely than those in the north. in the state of misses sippy -- mississippi, women lost their jobs because of the white male
power structure. these women were responding, and she was a black woman but she , has what it takes to bring about change. white women lost their jobs in parts of mississippi because it would not pull back from my candidacy. in florida, when i landed in tallahassee, the airport was jammed with white and black women. manye north, i found in instances, that the northern white women were saying, she is part of the feminist movement and been a leader, but while they were giving me the rhetoric, they were destroying my chances behind the scenes. many of the women in the north , not theeration go younger generation, said you are the first woman who happens to
be black to make a serious bid for the presidency, in terms of going out of the country and participating. at the first woman to run for president but the first woman , who did traditionally what you much to do not talking about that and i didn't run for president. it was primarily the women in the south that put me across. many of the women in the air got angry, but it was the truth. i was surprised. i was very very surprised at what happened to me in new york. but you must remember too that i did not make the bid for the presidency on the basis of new york, i made on the basis of minnesotans. >> take us through the process briefly. i campaigned and while
i was campaigning there were three over basic things i met constantly. i met constantly the fact that black men and white men were very, very low in attendance at the rallies in the meetings where i was making a pee appearances. that was obvious to me. secondly i ran into divisions , within the particular cities in which i ran, because the black people and the white people particularly the actually having disagreements, because i'm a woman. and the feminists felt, this is our candidate, we brought her in and sponsored her. and then the black people a community come of course, i am black and they felt, she is one of us. but in many cases, they didn't pay to bring me in. they were trying to jump on the
bandwagon. in the white woman reminded, we brought her so we can schedule her. many times i had to just hide on told there got to get what i think will be disagreements. and i'll give you a very funny story. i remember when i went into tallahassee. never forget this. this guy came to the airport to meet me. there must have been about 50 cars. it was an exciting time. they had on cards and everything and then the plane landed, and i got off the plane. the black community and the white community rushed to meet me to put me into a waiting car to take me off to a rally. and why the white community was taking me to the car, the black community said, she is one of us and she is a sister. they were arguing and i looked over and i saw this tiny man and
he was pointing and laughing and ,c-h-i-s-o-l-mhat for president. i asked him, can i get into your car. he was so excited. he got me into the car and from the moment i got into his car, all of the ruckus stopped and they jumped in their cars trying now to follow. i will never forget that as long as i live. >> how many delegate votes did you get at the convention? shirley: i got 158 votes at the delegate convention. mississippi,g that if i can remember, i got about
six of the votes in mississippi. i got about 20 something of louisiana. i got a large number. i got more votes from the south, and many of the persons indicated to me, go ahead, make the run. we have to have change in america so we are not shrinking violets and you are not. but you've got to remember, don't go to the south. if i didn't go to the south, i would've fallen completely on my face. >> did you get prime time television time at the podium at the convention? shirley: well, yes, they gave the opportunity and the once really jumped up and scream the loudest carried on going to that delegation heat in the front. but george wallace's alabamian delegation, was just there. when i was complaining in
florida, george wallace used to say if you can't vote for me in the primary, don't void -- vote for the pointy-headed liberals. had gottenght i entered into a pack with george wallace. i lost some floridian votes. but i also call you john lindsay to get out of the race in florida. he said, you are moving into my votes. he did everything to get me to remove myself in the floridian primary. i remember telling john, john, time has come. i've got to do this, and i will back as long as i live. our friendship was never what used to be after i refuse to pull out of the race in florida. i must tell the world that it was the south it really took me across and many of my friends in
new york were angry, because they wanted the world to feel that because i am a new yorker and i came from york that they were the one who pushed me out. nothing is further from the truth. message fromour the convention? message was the time has come that we in america can , passive be complacent recipients of whatever the party is running. the time has come that we must look at americans who have the attribute of leadership, who have the knowledge of the issues, to make a bid in an unequivocal manner for the presidency of united states of america, and i have decided to accept this challenge, and here i am today. do what you will. >> were you ever on the shortlist for the george mcgovern's vice president? shirley: no, i never fooled
myself. , i'm fairly intelligent. i was smart enough to know that i couldn't president, but somebody has to be a catalyst for change when you attempt to bring change in america. i've always regarded myself as a catalyst for change. >> we are also 20 years in the anniversary of watergate, and i wonder if during that year you file the news reports, like everyone else, but as an inside politician sort, did you see or detect or wonder about any of what later came to be known as dirty tricks occurred? shirley: oh, yes, i was a victim of it in california. circulated literature. tricksters inthe the nixon campaign, and his job
was to derail the candidacies of the democrats who were running. and he said some awful things humphrey, but look at what he said about shirley chisholm. mental been with us for institution a few years ago, and it is known that she rubbed feces on the walls of the rooms in her home. what device did he use get that information out? shirley: leaflets. >> how do you know it was from donald? shirley: my friends in california sent me everything that was put out at that time. but he did not say he did it. but as a result of the watergate hearings and everything, it came out that he did it because it was only a very negative and untruthful things that were said
me, or also set about humphrey and muskie and others. most likely for me. and later, he apologized to all of us. >> personally? shirley: not personally, but the media and newspapers picked it up. >> do you think those tricks had any effect on your campaign? shirley: no, not really. >> what was jesse jackson doing at the time that you were running? shirley: jesse jackson never supported me for the presidency or anything, although i supported him. jesse jackson never really it me. >> did u.s.. support? shirley: -- did you ask for his support? the blackhere were power boys meeting in gary, indiana to try to stop me, and he was part of that small group
who felt that the black woman who didn't consult the brothers had no business running for president. and i understood that. i'm not holding it against them. i understand why. >> why did you run for congress? we are going backwards here and we are now in 1968. shirley: sure. a new a new district had been created and the bar of brooklyn -- in the bar of brooklyn giving an opportunity for the first time for the thousands of black and hispanic peoples that reside in brooklyn a chance to send one of their own to the house of representatives. of representatives from community organizations held a series of interviews. there were about five of us. and then they voted at the hearing on the five of us on the basis of the issues, where we
stood come our community work, and the overwhelming majority voted for me, although i was a woman. if i have survived during those years that i was moving up politically, i can survive anything. i cried many nights, because i was misinterpreted. she wanted to take things away from the black man . she was going to divide the black man in all of this crazy stuff coming off of the wall. but i didn't let it affect me that much because i understood. was the time for black men and no one could get in the way, so i understand that. but it was very hurting, many of the things they said about me and many of the misinterpretations of my actions that i was some kind of horrible
little monster. >> what did they say? shirley: they said that she has no right to be running for congress, because if indeed a black person is going to congress, it should be a male. >> were there personal attacks? shirley: there were some personal attacks, but not many. >> you ran against james farmer. was that in the general are the primary? shirley: that was the general election. he was the republican. >> he had a national reputation? ofrley: he was on the board national equality. he was a bright, articulate man with a beautiful voice. and he gave everyone the impression that he could mow down shirley chisholm. they looked at me, a schoolteacher, what does she know?
a panel truck going across the man tanton -- the manhattan bridge i gm leave his home in lower manhattan coming into brooklyn every day to campaign for a congressional seat why didn't he go up against . adam clayton powell. there were three things that helped me to eventually win. number one, he was not a resident of brooklyn. i understood he had secured a room just for the purposes of addressing. number two, he didn't realize how fluent in spanish i was and thehen we went into hispanic areas, i would speak in english and then i would speak in spanish. the first time james farmer heard me speak spanish, i think his mouth opened. he just couldn't get over it. and thirdly, james got to the where every morning when
the people were going to work, he had these viral, muscular looking young black men giving out his literatures and drums beating, send a man to the house. i began to feel badly. and people said, don't feel badly except the challenge. i went down to the board of elections with a couple of people and checked the roles, 2.7 women. i went out and sent a call to the women leaders in the district and said, we have to go to war. and we mobilized. >> how much did you win? shirley: 321, mobilized. >> then you go to washington --
three-one, mobilized. >> then you go to washington. it was understood that freshman to be seen and not heard do except one of a committee. they placed me on an agriculture committee the committee on foreign three rural villages. for so many years the minority yorksence of brooklyn, new never had a representative. and i thought about it, you know, this is madness. they said, you have to understand and you'll get your community assignment eventually, but you have to take the assignment. that is what angers me. adams, and herock was the first white congressman that befriended me and looked out for me. >> what is he doing now?
shirley: he was secretary of transportation in the carter cabinet, but he is no longer in congress because of a series of misadventures that the took him. i told brock what i was going to do and put an amendment in two remove my name from the rural villages committee and asked for has a little that bit more for the district. he said you can do this, but you are committing political suicide before you get started. the word got out that shirley chisholm's want show less text wanted to challenge. >> who was the speaker? john mccormick was the speaker at that time. and so i wanted to speak to the
the word had gotten out, it leaked out that shirley chisholm was going to cause a ruckus. big thing out of nothing. so i called the speaker. i did not want to think i came from the legislature to upset the tradition. i told the speaker, mr. speaker, i just want you to know that tomorrow when the democratic caucus meets, i will ask for a change of committee assignment because it does not make sense for me to be sitting for two years on a committee that has absolutely no relevancy. even if they put me on the committee that dealt with hot lunch programs it might be -- but forestry? what foolishness is this? i said to the chair and the speaker -- i forgot i was speaking to the speaker. i was so upset. i said, mr. speaker, i'm going to have to do my thing -- that was my favorite phrase at the time.
the speaker said to me, you will have to do what? excuse me, i will have to go with what i have to do. he said, do you know you will be beaten down? i will take the chance. he did not like it, i could tell by the tone of his voice. to make a long story short, we went. a lot of the men normally don't come to the democratic caucus. the balcony was filled because the reporters because they heard what i was going to do. they had made a plan and that plan was when shirley chisholm desires to be recognized in the caucus, four or five men who had seniority would raise their hand and the speaker would recognize them. after a while, shirley chisholm would get tired of jumping up and down the jackrabbit. they didn't know me. they don't know what kind of person i i found myself going up am. and down. i knew they would see me because i'm highly visible. i decided to do one thing. i'm so mad, i had some notes. i put the notes on my seat.
i walked down without the speaker calling me. right down to the well of the house. the men, anything is a diversionary tactic, they all are hitting the gavel. there will be order in this house. the funniest thing happened. as i got down to the floor of the house, i suddenly became frightened. what am i going to do? the speaker -- i didn't know the old speaker could hop off the dias so quickly. he looked at me and ran over and put their heads together. whatever it was, the speaker came back and recognized wilbur mills. i'm standing right there in the middle of the house and wilbur mills to frighten and harass me what purpose does the , gentlewoman from the county of the borough of brooklyn in new york stand in the middle of the house? [laughter]
i thought when he did that, by using those tones, that i would run out of the house. i say, as calm as i knew how to, mr. chairman, for the past 35 minutes, i have been attempting to gain recognition. i'm a highly visible person in this house of representatives. for whatever your reasons may be, the speaker has not recognized me. i thought the best thing to do was to come to the well of the house because i've something very important to say. he said, the gentlewoman from the borough of brooklyn, empire state of new york will have five minutes. i say it seems like all of you know that a tree grows in brooklyn i want you to know that , i am asking, i am putting in an amendment to ask for a different assignment. an assignment. a committee assignment that has a little more relevancy to the district i represent, not a
subcommittee on forestry and rural village and greeted no one had ever done this in the house. i was a bad child. you know something? they went back and gave me a committee that had more relevancy. at least i was placed on the veterans affairs committee. more veterans in the district than trees. after i did that and others came in and given crazy committees they later told me that they , wanted to make sure they could keep me quite in hidden before i started blossoming in the house. they were shocked when i told them i knew that's what you were all were trying to do but now you know the kind of person i am. bruce: who is your closest leadership ally in the house in those days? who did you look to? did you have a mentor or did you even need one? rep. chisholm: no, i didn't have a mentor. even though the gentleman --
what's funny about the house of representatives in those days, the democrats, they admired me and like my spunkiness and feisty spirit but they were huddled -- a little afraid to be closely aligned with me because the speaker did not look at me too kindly because i was rebellious in terms of not accepting assignments that didn't make sense. and of course, because of the patronage system going to the , airshows in all of this -- i was one day walking down the hall and the speaker -- let's get together a list of the people who will go to the great air show. bruce: the paris? rep. chisholm: all of a sudden, both of them disappeared for meeting. they didn't want the speaker to really feel they were that close to me. it was a strange thing because those guys live on the basis of
getting there little tidbits. you can imagine, i was in the house, i didn't go on junctions -- junkets because i would not behave myself. both speakers tip o'neill, they , used to always tell me, don't know what to do with you. one time they asked me don't you want to go to the airshow? i told them straight, if i want to go to the air show i can pay my fare. i didn't realize until later, some 16, 18 years later how progressive i was. why the gentlemen and the people in politics looked at me the way they did because i did think you were not supposed to do. in the process of doing them, i opened up new approaches. i paid for it in terms of not getting all the nice perks. that didn't bother me.
i did not go there to get perks. bruce: why did you quit? rep. chisholm: because from the very inception of my political career, when i was in the new york state legislature, i still have it at home, i said from the inception of my political career, never do i intend to spend all of my creative and productive years in the political arena. i never intended to be dragged out in an oxygen tank or actually dying. also the reagan administration had come in. i saw so many things that we had done during the civil rights movement and what have you beginning to fade away before my eyes and my face. i also saw the people back in my own district were taking it out on me because i could no longer deliver like i used to be able to deliver under the carter administration and what have you. i decided this was the moment for me to leave and go out and do other things because of the fact i knew from the inception
my career i did not intend on spending my adult life in politics. bruce: what did you do? rep. chisholm: i became a professor. i do a lot of visiting professorships across this country. i love the young people. i spent a lot of time. i do a lot of speechwriting for politicians. you'd be surprised some of them i do speechwriting four. bruce: are you going to tell us? rep. chisholm: no. bruce: never mind. i want to ask you a few more things about congress. what would you change about congress to make it more effective? rep. chisholm: i would change -- i do not think that the congress of the united states is representative of the populations that make up this country. this country is a multifaceted, multiracial, multiethnic land. bruce: how would you change it constitutionally? rep. chisholm: i am not talking about changing the constitution. i am talking about what is happening now. more women getting out there and running and winning.
more hispanic and african-americans accepting the challenge. it does not mean you will necessarily win but you have to have the guts and courage and your conviction to help bring about change through your own actions, not through rhetoric. bruce: isn't that happening now? rep. chisholm: it's happening now. it's a wonderful thing. i'm so glad 20 years later i have lived to see what's really happening. for the year 1992, the impetus of making women feel like they had to out there -- all these white males making determinations about an issue that affects women. i think that was the turning point for this year. women said the heck with this, we have to get out there and start running. whether or not we win, we have to accept the challenge. bruce: had you been on the senate judiciary committee, what do you think would have happened? rep. chisholm: i probably would not be able to get to vote. i certainly would have spoken
about the way in which they were questioning ms. hill. i did not like it for one moment. i saw orrin hatch and this other guy from wyoming -- particularly those two. arlen specter. the prosecutorial tone. well, it's a good thing i was not on the committee because they would probably have someone take me out. bruce: you watched all that? rep. chisholm: yes, i couldn't take my eyes off the screen to make a meal. it was a fairy story that was happening. it was not because they felt like they did what they had to do because politics is so darn partisan. the republicans had made their minds up that they had to get thomas on the bench. the democrats had made their minds up that they had to make sure he didn't get on the bench. politics being what it is, everyone engages in all kinds of tricks and what have you.
i understand that. but it was not what they were doing, it was how they were doing it and what they were doing to that woman. did something to me. bruce:bruce: one of the big questions is do you believe him or her? rep. chisholm: it's hard because neither one of us were there. we don't know what really happened. bruce: do you have a feeling in your gut? rep. chisholm: i have a feeling that there was something on both sides of that issue. i won't choose to go into that. there was something on both sides of that issue. it didn't have anything to do with politics. that's all i want to say. bruce: how do you think black leadership would have evolved had martin luther king remained alive? rep. chisholm: i think if nothing else, martin luther king was the one black leader in this country, and this era that have the uncanny ability and skills and articulation to issue a call to bring the black leaders together. the majority of black leaders together.
there's no one today that can really bring all of the black leaders together. whether they are conservative oriented leaders, progressive or what have you. martin luther would have outlined for us -- where we thought we ought to be going. does not necessarily mean we would have accepted it, but he commanded the respect. he had the integrity and the principles which a lot of leaders don't have today. there's not the integrity. there's not the principles. there's a lot of political expediency that goes on. it does not emanate from the heart. what you can get out of it. i think had martin luther king been alive today, that we may not have found ourselves in a kind of position in which there doesn't seem any longer to be any unanimity of purpose amongst the black leaders pertaining to an agenda for the future of our people.
that is very troubling to me. bruce: how much longer do you think race will be a central issue in american public affairs? rep. chisholm: it will always be a central issue. racism in this country, it was founded on racism. it is the bugaboo of america. it is what renders america so vulnerable within attacks of its opponents within the country and out of the country. when the basic document of this land was written, black folks were only counted as 3/5 of a person. until the passage of the 13th, 14th, 15th amendment that we were of a person. 5/5 this country was born and bred in racism. i don't really believe we will ever really eradicate racism in america. i must say honestly, there have been improvements through the years. god help us if we haven't had any, but there have been improvements. at this point in time, i feel sometimes we are back in the 1960's as i travel throughout the country.
i see what is happening. sometimes i think we are back in the 1950's because there has been an erosion of so many of the gains that we made. i don't think we could ever get rid of racism in america. i'm sorry to say, but my gut tells me that. i hope i am wrong. that is the way i feel at this moment. bruce: have you ever thought of yourself as a victim? rep. chisholm: of racism? bruce: i have used the word victim because as you know, there's a lot of discussion about the victim mentality of minorities. not necessarily blacks. that there is the criticism that the black leadership encourages the sense of victimization because that provides a rationale for seeking help from the government. i wonder if you accept that or is there another way to go? rep. chisholm: i don't see it that way at all.
i have to put it in this kind of perspective. i have to put it in the fact that whatever these leaders have been able to utilize that has worked in some ways and has resounded to the benefit of african-american people, and it was successful, they feel that this is the way they should always go. they are not very experimental. they are not very creative in terms of looking at new ways of doing things. not only black and white leaders, but you always become a little bit satisfied and complacent if you found something that has worked, even if it's no longer appropriate for the times in which we are living. i think it's more a kind of frailty of human nature that does this kind of thing. that is why even today, everybody's kind of upset and worried about the fact that, for example, ross perot is out here. who is he? he's not a democrat, not a republican, yet everybody is
falling behind him. you are going away from tradition. ross in his own strange way is being creative, if i could say that. everybody's focusing on ross, instead of focusing on the agenda that will make american people who have become alienated and cynical about the traditional ways of doing things return. they are too busy focusing on mr. perot, instead of correcting the equities and grievances the american people have been indicating for quite some time. this year in my humble opinion is going to be a bloodless, mini political revolution. i see it coming. it is good to be some convention both at the republican party convention and the democratic party convention. bruce: why then, if that's so,
why do you think the republican convention will be something other than a renomination of the president and vice president? rep. chisholm: i think that's surprisingly enough, a large number of republican women -- some of my best friends are republicans -- a large number of republican women are going to the convention, saying they will not take this antiabortion issue -- that is the word they use -- anymore. i can see the republican convention a kind of outburst around that whole abortion issue. that's how i see it at the republican convention. it will come that way. at the democratic convention, when you know that in the city of new york, there has already been an indicator that you will have all kinds of delegations
out in the streets. they have to make sure to have a way to keep them away. you're going to have the pro-abortion forces, pro-choice, the homeless have been building their own tent out there. you're going to have the gay community saying neither republicans or the democrats are paying attention to our issues. because new york is a very overt, outspoken place where anything and everything goes, i see and i also hope that the convention does not come about like the one in 1968 in chicago, where you had all these different groups out there rebelling and all the people in america could see on the screen. i'm very concerned. bruce: in the time remaining, he retired from politics in 1982. you went into teaching.
what have you been teaching? rep. chisholm: my have been teaching -- i have been teaching the role of women in america. i have been teaching the history of black women in america. i've been teaching congress. power, politics. and my classes are very unusual in that i don't get up before the class and pontificate. i conduct the class in terms of my experiences. give them some basic premises pertaining to all three of these areas, and then there's a constant dialogue going on between myself and the students. and, many of the supervisors and persons in higher education who have witnessed my classes have made me feel very proud. they said your classes are the most alive classes i have ever seen.
wherever i go, the students and professors ask me to come back. i have not come back to many of them because i want to visit as many universities as i can. as i speak to you, i have been in over 225 universities and colleges of this country for the past 25 years of my life. it's given to me the greatest kinds of experiences. i love young people. i don't see that we spend enough time with them. at this stage in my life, i consider myself a stateswoman. i considered myself a mentor. and i consider myself a person who is had the opportunity to be able to pass on to the next generation the benefit, whatever benefit they could get out of the experiences i have had in this country. bruce: how do you explain all the press reports and surveys that show voter participation of young people way down and even interest way down? rep. chisholm: there's a reason for you because they have been listening to all this rhetoric.
they have been listening to the fact the peace dividend will come back to the people of this country and they wouldn't have to worry about completing the four-year college education. they are frightened to death as to whether or not they will able to complete their education if they are already in college or they will have the opportunity to go to college with tuition rates are so high. they have been victims of their parents and grandparents talk about afghan, korea gate, iran contra. they have become cynical like a , lot of the adults. who needs it? bruce: your own students who you say are rather engaged and intellectually alive, do you think they go out of your classroom to vote and become active citizens? rep. chisholm: a lot of them do. a lot of them do. but it's amazing that they refuse -- this is very interesting to me. a disproportionate number of them do not register as democrat or republican.
they register as independent. when i talk with them in private conversations, there's some basic premises in a democratic philosophy politically in america and republican philosophy politically. we are not interested, mrs. chisholm, in a party philosophy necessary. we want to look at the person and the person's pattern of behavior. it will indicate to us they are not hung up on traditional parties like we older folk are. they are not as hung up. bruce: how old are you? rep. chisholm: i'm 67 years of age. bruce: how old do you feel? rep. chisholm: i feel 37. bruce: what are your plans for the future? rep. chisholm: i live my life now one day at a time. i have no specific plans. since my husband passed away five years ago, people came back
to me and said shirley, we need that righteous voice of indignation out there. come back and let your voice be heard. my time has passed. i would rather train and mentor and help younger blacks and women coming along. perfectly content with the life i am leading at this point. bruce: it is probably early for me to ask this of a 37-year-old woman. [laughter] what would you like -- what -- that makes me older than you. what would you like for your epitaph? rep. chisholm: it's too soon to ask me. i don't want to be necessarily known as the first african-american woman to be elected to congress or the first female who happened to be african-american to be elected. i would rather like to be -- my
>> this is american history tv. each weekend we feature 48 hours of programs exploring our nation's past. today at 6:00 p.m. eastern on lookivil war, historians at how we remember war through our memorial landscape and discuss whether to remove or contextualize confederate monuments. here is a preview. >> one of the things i have heard a lot, i'm not sure if you have as well is about the monuments.
distinction? i have come across this question a lot. is contextualizing the space of a battlefield. >> it is interesting to hear you say that. maybe i see it is more problematic. i think the one thing we have to acknowledge is we are talking about federal land versus local property. ball gamewhole other because trying to get the federal government to do anything -- the monuments are staying. we can agree on that for the foreseeable future. i think in most places, especially those run by the national park service, they do a phenomenal job trying to place them in the context of the battlefield. when you were standing at the north carolina monument of the gettysburg battlefield, that monument is a beautiful monument of north carolinians facing forward on july 3, 1863.
there is a plaque that raises these men. what are they looking at directly? what are they marching towards? a
free black farm. the family had to flee as lee's army is coming into pennsylvania in the summer of 1863. 200 free blacks. if you know the story, you know the history, you can use these monuments as windows into the past. i wonderverage family, what they are walking away from seeing robert e. lee hovering, looking out over cemetery ridge. cause ofrces the lost a gallant attack, right? >> i go there. they do bike week. alabama -- i teach that one.
i show pictures i took at the battlefield of it. ,he thing about north carolina he grew up. here about the role african
americans have taken, there is a conversation i think it happens locally that does not always happen nationally. it allows them to talk about brian park. the national park service has somesuch a great job that of the space ones, like in north carolina, they can do better contextualization. there is one of the wilmington area. that stuff can come down. these memorials on these federal lands, the park service and federal service -- for me, if it is not here to give a sense of space and you can't have it somewhere else, these are better
examples. some other ones should learn from these. >> watch the full program at 6:00 p.m. eastern on the civil war here on american history tv. >> >> go inside a different college classroom and hear about topic ranging from the american revolution, civil right, and u.s. presidents. your >> you for patience and logging into class. with most campuses closed, watch professors teaching in a virtual setting to engage with their students. >> gorbachev did most of the work to change the soviet union, halfway,n met him reagan encouraged him and supported him. , this is theention freedom of the use of the press, and publishing.
lectures in history, on american history tv on c-span three, every saturday. podcast.lable as a find it where you listen to podcasts. week, american history tv's american artifacts visits museums and historic places. next we take you inside the u.s. capital house wing where curators use artifacts and photographs to trace the history of women in congress. this is the first of a two-part program. >> the story of women in congress begins with jeanette rankin. she was elected to the house in 1916 from montana.