There’s A Middle School In Barbados Recently Named After Shirley Chisholm. Here’s How Its Training The Next Generation And Celebrating A Daughter Of The Soil


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Shirley Chisholm was a pioneering Black politician, educator, and author who championed social justice, education, and equality throughout her career.

She made history as the first Black woman ever to be elected to the US Congress in 1968 and again in 1972 when she became the first Black woman of a major party to run for president. After retiring from office, she worked as a teacher and public speaker, which is how she began her career. Chisholm died in 2005 at the age of 81.

November 30 of this year would have been Chisolm’s 99th birthday. While the history that she has made in the United States is well known, you may have yet to learn that Chisholm recently made it in the Caribbean, where she has roots.

Chisholm was born in Brooklyn, New York, to immigrant parents from the Caribbean; her father was from Guyana, and her mother was from Barbados. She was always proud of her Caribbean heritage. She was sent to live with her grandmother on a farm in Barbados when she was three years old and received most of her primary education there.

In April of this year, the school in Barbados that Chisholm attended as a child was renamed in her honor. The former Vauxhall Primary School, which has been open since 1976, according to local news outlet Barbados Today, is now the Shirley Chisholm Primary School.

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Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley led a group of dignitaries, specially invited guests, students, and teachers for the historic renaming ceremony, which took place on April 5. Some of Chisholm’s relatives were present: the United States ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Linda Taglialatela, and Chad Blackman, senior advisor to the Director General of the International Labour Organization.

In her feature address, Prime Minister Mottley said that politics is not about retaining power for a select few but rather about making people’s lives easier and creating great citizens with Bajan roots because the world is interdependent.

Mottley added that just as Chisholm’s memory has tremendously inspired her, she hoped that the school’s renaming and “the example of her life equally inspires” students.

“I make the point all the time that the energy and confidence that our children show in the playground must be shown in the classroom, in the church, in the places of employment, in any environment that they enter because they must not be intimidated by any space whatsoever and they must believe that no one is better than them, but they are equally, not better than anyone,” she said.

The Prime Minister added: “When the Congressional Black Caucus was here last year, we indicated that we wanted to celebrate the life of Shirley Chisholm in an appropriate way. It is not an accident, I believe, that our Independence Day, our Republic Day, is the birthday of Shirley Chisholm. It’s an amazing coincidence.

Chisholm’s 100th birthday will be next year. Mottley shared that from November 30 of this year until the big day in 2024,there will be one full year of celebration to commemorate the centennial anniversary of such a legendary, trailblazing Caribbean American woman.


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