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Black History Month: Politicians

Provides information about Black History Month and some notable African Americans from throughout history.

Shirley Chisholm

Photograph of Shirley Chisholm

This photograph shows Shirley Chisholm as she announces her candidacy for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in January 1972 and is maintained by the Library of Congress.

Campaign poster for Shirley Chisholm that reads

This poster was used during Shirley Chisholm's 1972 campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and is exhibited by the National Portrait Gallery.

Photograph of two women with their arms around each other

This photograph shows Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry and Shirley Chisholm at the Democratic National Convention in 1972.

Why are they important?

Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress in 1968 and she served as a U.S. Representative until 1983. Chisholm was also the first black candidate for a major party's presidential nomination, as well as the first woman to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Before becoming involved with politics, Chisholm was an accomplished early childhood educator.

Books from our Collection

Click on the title of each book to be taken to our catalog where you can place a hold with your library card.

Watch Shirley Chisholm announce her candidacy for President

Additional Resources

Check out the following websites for more information about Shirley Chisolm:

  • National Geographic Kids
    Provides a brief overview of Shirley Chisholm's life and accomplishments.
  • Biography
    Presents an overview of Shirley Chisholms life and accomplishments and includes quick facts, famous quotes, and photos.
  • Britannica Kids
    Biographical information about Shirley Chisholm written for various audiences.

Thurgood Marshall

Photograph of Thurgood Marshall in his Supreme Court Justice robes

This photograph is the official portrait of Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall from 1976 and is maintained by the Library of Congress.

Photograph of Thurgood Marshall

This photograph of Thurgood Marshall was taken in 1957 and is maintained by the Library of Congress.

Photograph of Thurgood Marshall sitting in the Oval Office

This photograph of Thurgood Marshall was taken in the White House Oval Office in 1967 and is maintained by the National Archives and Record Administration.

Why are they important?

Thurgood Marshall was the first African American to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Before becoming an Associate Justice, Marshall worked as a lawyer in Baltimore, Maryland. Marshall was a founder of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and argued many cases before the Supreme Court. The most notable case that Marshall was involved in was Brown v. Board of Education.

Books from our Collection

Click on the title of each book to be taken to our catalog where you can place a hold with your library card.

Watch this news coverage of the day Thurgood Marshall was nominated to the Supreme Court

Additional Resources

Check out the following websites for more information about Thurgood Marshall:

  • National Geographic Kids
    Provides a brief introduction to Thurgood Marshall and his major accomplishments.
  • America's Library
    A series of stories about Thurgood Marshall written by the Library of Congress for young audiences.
  • Biography
    Presents an overview of Thurgood Marshall's life and accomplishments and includes quick facts, famous quotes, photos, and videos.

Barack Obama

Photograph of Barack Obama with his arms crossed, smiling, and standing in front of the American flag

This photograph is the official portrait of President Barack Obama from the beginning of his second term in 2012.

Photograph of Barack, Michelle, Malia, and Sasha Obama posing for a family picture

This photograph shows President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, their daughters Malia and Sasha, and their dogs Bo and Sunny outside of the White House on Easter Sunday in April 2015 and is courtesy of the Barack Obama Presidential Library.

Photograph of Barack and Michelle Obama pointing to a crowd while confetti rains down

This photograph shows President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Dr. Jill Biden celebrating in November 2012 after President Obama was elected for a second term as president. This photograph is courtesy of the Barack Obama Presidential Library.

Why are they important?

Barack Obama became the first African American to serve as the United States President in 2009. Before becoming President, Obama was a civil rights attorney, professor, state senator, and U.S. senator. He passed many landmark bills into law during his presidency that helped a lot of Americans.

Books from our Collection

Click on the title of each book to be taken to our catalog where you can place a hold with your library card.

Watch Barack Obama's Inaugural Address

Additional Resources

Check out the following websites for more information about Barack Obama:

  • National Geographic Kids
    Provides information about the highlights of Barack Obama's presidency, as well as some fun facts.
  • Twitter
    Connect with Barack Obama through social media. Read about what he is doing now and his plans for the future.
  • Barack Obama Presidential Library
    Learn more about Barack Obama and his family. Presents an interactive timeline, photos, and videos.