Shirley Chisholm statue to be built and installed at Forest Lawn – Buffalo Rising
An announcement was made that a statue in honor of Shirley Chisholm “will come to life” in 2022. Chisholm was the first black woman to be elected to Congress, where she served seven terms. In 1972, she was the first woman – and the first black candidate – to run for the nomination of a major party for the presidential office. Ultimately, she became secretary of the Democratic House caucus in 1977, which was considered a monumental achievement.
Chisholm is also relatively unknown for her vast achievements, which is why a statue will finally be created in her honor. The statue will eventually be placed in Forest Lawn, where it is buried in the Birchwood Mausoleum.
Earlier today, New York State Senator Sean Ryan joined Forest Lawn Cemetery officials and members of the Steering Committee to announce that a Request for Proposals (RFP) has been published, in search of a sculptor to capture the likeness of Chisholm, who was known as “a soft-spoken person, with a true sense of humor. She was also known for her vast” many firsts Which continue to spread and inspire people to this day. Chisholm has opened the door for so many other blacks to follow, but she has also inspired a nation as a whole. Now it’s time to pay homage to this relentless agent of change.
While in Congress, she fought for programs like Head Start, school meals, and food stamps. Notably, Chisholm was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Women’s Political Caucus.
As an agent of change, she has stood up for women, minorities and the poor. She also lobbied for education and wage reform.
The PD was created in collaboration with the steering committee which guides the creation of the statue. Members of the Steering Committee include:
- April Baskin – Speaker of the Erie County Legislature
- Ruth G. Bryant – President of the Communities of Giving Legacy Initiative at the Community Foundation For Greater Buffalo
- Dr Barbara A. Seals Nevergold – Founder of the Uncrowned Queens Institute and past president of the Buffalo School Board
- Melissa Brown – Executive Director of the Buffalo History Museum
- Joseph Dispenza – President of Forest Lawn Cemetery
- Zainab Saleh – Coordinator of the Partnership for the Public Good program
Senator Sean Ryan said, “Shirley Chisholm has been a force for positive change throughout her life. As she progressed in her political career, she crossed barrier after barrier – while standing up for historically under-represented groups. As the 50th anniversary of his unprecedented presidential campaign approaches, I hope this statue will serve not only as a monument to this important figure in our country’s history, but also as an educational opportunity for generations who do not know how. -be not his story. “
Chisholm introduced herself as “the politician of the people”.
Erie County Legislature Speaker April Baskin said: “Shirley Chisholm was ahead of her time in her political philosophy and persevered through the seemingly insurmountable challenges of being the first black woman elected to the Congress and the first presidential candidate. In her persistence in representing Americans, she laid the groundwork for elected black women like me to be successful. I am incredibly honored that we have the privilege of transforming her symbolism into a statue, right here in Buffalo, where she has made her home. And I’m excited to see what our immensely talented local artists come up with to connect our past to the present and inspire future Shirley Chisholms across our nation. “
Chisholm said she wanted to be remembered as a “catalyst for change” and a “black woman who dared to be herself”.
Dr Barbara A. Seals Nevergold, Founder of the Uncrowned Queens Institute and Past Chair of the Buffalo School Board, said: “The Honorable Shirley Chisholm was one of the most important African American political leaders of our time. His historic run for president was just one of his many firsts. Ms. Chisholm was a trailblazer who paved the way for all women, especially those of color in a male dominated field. I would like to thank Senator Ryan for his foresight, commitment and support for this project, as well as my fellow committee members for their continued dedication to ensuring that the final monument is a symbol of the spirit embodied by Ms. Chisholm. and the many lessons that draw from his heritage.
After retiring from Congress in 1983, Chisholm lived for several years in Williamsville, New York and taught at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.
Joseph Dispenza, President of Forest Lawn Cemetery, said: “This work of art will be a well-deserved local honor and recognition of the spirit, bravery and commitment of MP Chisholm to do the right thing. , when you can, regardless of political or social mores. time. Her campaign slogan, “Unbought & Unbossed,” which also serves as the epitaph on her crypt here at Forest Lawn, sums up her commitment to these ideals and provides clear direction for all of us personally and professionally. “
Zainab Saleh, Coordinator of the Public Good Partnership Program, said: “This project provides a unique opportunity for an artist or a collaboration between artists, especially artists of color, to capture the dynamism and fearlessness of Shirley Chisholm facing the status quo. I look forward to working with artists to honor a leader who has worked tirelessly throughout his career, using his office to implement real change to impact real lives.
Chisholm died on January 1, 2005. Her presidential campaign slogan is inscribed on her crypt, “Not bought and without a boss.”
The statue is expected to be erected in the fall of 2022. Artists interested in designing the statue are invited to submit proposals until December 1, 2021.
Any artist or team of artists working in New York State will be considered. The Steering Committee strongly encourages artists of color and those based in western New York to submit proposals. Initial proposals for the project should be submitted to Zainab Saleh at [email protected] by December 1, 2021. To receive comments on ongoing applications, drafts should be emailed by November 15, 2021. A committee representing community stakeholders reviews all submissions for the competition before two finalists are selected. A virtual briefing will be held at 12:30 p.m. on October 20 to go over all the requirements in detail and answer questions from interested artists. The full call for tenders, including details of the briefing, can be found here.
Main image: MP Shirley Chisholm announcing her candidacy for the presidential nomination. Film negative by photographer Thomas J. O’Halloran, 1972. From US News & World Report Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. – Wikimedia Commons