July 12, 2012

Shirley Chisholm was nominated for the presidency of the United States on July 13th, 1972. She was the first African American woman elected to Congress in 1968, and the first African American and the first woman to run a serious campaign for the Democratic party nomination. Percy Sutton, prominent  African American political and business leader, civil-rights activist and lawyer, Freedom Rider and the legal representative for Malcolm X placed her name for nomination.

Sutton was in the New York State Assembly with Chisholm, 1965-1966 and  was the highest-ranking African-American elected official in New York City when he was Manhattan Borough president from 1966 to 1977, the longest tenure at that position. He later became an entrepreneur whose investments included the New York Amsterdam News and the Apollo Theater in Harlem. To this day, Shirley Chisholm is the only woman who has been nominated to be a  Democratic Party Presidential candidate, She went into the convention with 152 delegate votes.

Here is his impassioned speech, to download click here :

In nomination for the presidency, the name of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm
Speech by Borough President Percy Sutton, Democratic National Convention, Miami, 1972

Mr. Chairman, fellow delegates… If my mouth dries up on me. If my tongue becomes large in my mouth. If my voice becomes quavery. If by my appearance, I am nervious, please know that I am. I am tense. I am nervous, and I am excited.

It seems almost a century ago-but it was '42- in the November of that year- that I was part of a contingent of Air Force enlisted men that arrived here at Miami Beach to enter the Air Force Officer’s Candidate School.

1942 was one of many years of shame for America. It was one of those many years when Black people, people of my color and my candidates color and culture were kept separate and apart from persons of the white culture.

Those were the days when Black people in America had no rights under the law which a white man was legally obliged to respect.

Those were the days of separate schools, separate school buses, separate water fountains, separate toilets and separate hotels; all separate.

Those were the long days. Those were the cruel days. Those were the days of indignities, injuries and cruelties to the Black spirit and to the Black body. Those were the days when America was without its nobility. Those were the days before change began.

Those were the days when Black men and Black women could not get hungry, could not get sleepy, could not get thirsty as they travelled about this country to view the beauties that this country had structured on the backs of, and over the dead bodies, of their enslaved ancestors- ancestors of the lady whose name I have the honor of placing in nomination tonight.

Those were the days before change.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.