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Brooklyn state office building named after Chisholm

Stephon Johnson | 4/12/2011, 5:26 p.m.
Brooklyn state office building named after Chisholm

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Brooklyn state office building named after Chisholm

Located at 55 Hanson Place in Brooklyn, N.Y., the state office building will now be known as the Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building in honor of the late pioneer and congresswoman.

On Monday, a dedication ceremony was held in honor of the renaming, with everyone from New York State Gov. David Paterson to Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries providing testimony on Chisholm's achievements while a plaque commemorating her triumphs was unveiled.

"Shirley Chisholm was a lifelong leader," said Paterson, "who worked tirelessly to better the lives of those in her community and across the country. Her ability to inspire action in others is a gift that continues to resonate today.

"Naming this building in her honor will recognize her legacy in perpetuity and serve as a constant reminder of her dedication to championing positive change," said Paterson.

Chisholm etched her name in the tablets of history when she became the first Black woman elected to Congress in 1968. She represented the borough of Brooklyn from 1968 to 1983, which also included a run for the United States presidency in 1972. It marked the first time a Black majority-party candidate ran and the first time a Black woman ran for the Democratic nomination.

"Shirley Chisholm blazed a trail from the streets of Brooklyn in 1972 to the White House in 2008 with the election of Barack Obama," said Jeffries. "We all owe Shirley Chisholm a debt of gratitude for her dogged spirit and indomitable strength that changed the very social fabric of our nation forever."

Representing the Chisholm family at the ceremony was Bill Howard, who worked for Chisholm as a senior administrative assistant when she was in Congress. Howard pontificated on the legacy of his former boss, whose work, he believes, can be found anytime you step outside. "Shirley's work can be seen today on the streets of America," he said. "Her life's work centered around a better quality of life for all people, especially our youth."

"Shirley never wanted to be remembered as the first Black woman to be elected to Congress or the first Black person to make a bid for the presidency of the United States. Rather, Shirley is remembered as she wanted to be--a catalyst for change in America," said Howard.