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MLK Now: Condola Rashad Reads Shirley Chisholm’s Presidential Campaign Announcement

MLK Now was a special series of readings by Hollywood celebrities at Harlem’s Riverside Church, held this past Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Day, and hosted by Ryan Coogler, the organizer of Blackout for Human Rights.

Yesterday, we heard Chris Rock recite from a letter by James Baldwin called “My Dungeon Shook.” In today’s selection, Condola Rashād reads from Shirley Chisholm’s Presidential Campaign Announcement of 1972. Here’s how Cary Clack, writing for the San Antonio Express-News, described Chisholm’s legacy in a Feb. 2008 profile:

Thirty-six years ago, U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm became the first woman and the first black person to seek a major party’s presidential nomination.

When she made her announcement on Jan. 25, 1972, she was already a historic figure by virtue of her 1968 election to the House, representing Brooklyn’s 12th Congressional District. It was an election that made her the first black woman elected to Congress.

Her campaign slogan, and the title of her first book, was “Unbought and Unbossed,” and her sense of who she was became evident when, after being sworn in, she told The Washington Post, “I am an historical person at this point, and I’m very much aware of it.”

You can also read a transcript from the speech.

Rashād is a Tony and Drama Desk award winning actress who has also had several TV and film appearances. You can watch more from MLK Now on Blackout for Human Rights’ Livestream channel.

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and Occupy.com.