New York City will be honoring political trailblazer Shirley Chisholm in a major way. On her 94th birthday (Nov. 30), it was announced that the city would be creating a statue in her honor. Hoping to be completed in 2020, the statue will be placed outside the Parkside entrance of Prospect Park in Chisholm’s hometown of Brooklyn, New York.
Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to Congress in 1968, and the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties in 1972.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife and First Lady of New York, Chirlane McCray, says she hopes that the statue will encourage more women to get into the political space.
“Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s legacy of leadership and activism has paved the way for thousands of women to seek public office,” McCray said in a statement. “She is exactly the kind of New York woman whose contributions should be honored with representation in our public spaces, and that is now being realized with She Built NYC.”
She Built NYC is a new city initiative to construct public monuments honoring Big Apple women who have changed history.
“The absence of female statues has been a public issue for a long time,” says artist Meredith Bergmann. “I remember my feminist art groups griping about this back in 1975!”
“From standing up to congressional leadership to taking bold bipartisan action, Rep. Chisholm made sure everyone knew she was ‘unbought and unbossed,’” said Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for housing and economic development. “There is no one more deserving than Rep. Chisholm of a statue honoring her life and legacy; may New Yorkers of all backgrounds be inspired by her story.”
Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis will also be honoring the late Shirley Chisholm as it was recently announced that she would be producing and starring as Chisholm in Amazon Studios’ The Fighting Shirley Chisholm. Davis will be producing under her JuVee Productions banner as part of her first look film deal with Amazon Studios.