Monday, January 03, 2005

Shirley Chisolm, RIP

When I heard that Shirley Chisolm died the other day, to be perfectly honest, I thought she was an old R&B singer or a Gospel singer... Maybe I was thinking of Shirely Ceasar. I know it's a shame not to know that Mrs. Chidolm was the first black woman elected to congress and the first black person, male or female to run for president... And as a black male, her struggle is the reason I have many of the rights I enjoy and often take for granted today. Come to think of it, for a black person to not know Shirley Chilsom is like a modern black baseball player not knowing who Jackie Robinson or Curt Flood was.

But again, when I heard the news that Mrs. Chisolm died, I didn't know who she was.

News of her passing also got me thinking about our public education system and our sense of civcs and history in America. The only thing I learned about black folks in high school is that MLK, JR said "I have a dream," Muhammad Ali was a famous boxer with a big mouth, Rosa Parks was too tired to get up, and Maya Angelou wrote Phenominal Woman to make cool hip white women feel good about themselves. For anything else, make that everything else, I had to go to a library or hope that someone in my family had the info I was looking for. (Like being able to tell me who Shirley Chisolm is, for example.)

It's pretty sad how we measure the importance of people. We know all about Princess Di and Fergie... We know all about the cast of Friends and Sex in the City and the Sopranos... We know more about Lewis and Clark than Pochahantas or Sackejewia(sp)... We honored Ronald Regean for seemingly weeks after his passing. Same with Nixon. And if it weren't for that biopic, we probably wouldn't be saying much about Ray Charles other than that we was the guy who sang, "Georgia", "America the Beautiful" and "Hit the Road, Jack"...

Our sense of history, civics, and who/what is really important is a strange bird, indeed. Regardless, RIP Mrs. Chisolm... I'll really miss the beautiful music you made.


hadji williams is author of "KNOCK THE HUSTLE: How to save your job and your life from Corporate America" hiphop' first success guide for business, work and life. (www.knockthehustle.com) Reach him at author@knockthehustle.com

8 Comments:

At 7:24 PM, Blogger The Green Man said...

Thanks for posting that, Hajpaj. I actually remember Shirley Chisholm and when she ran for President, but I didn't spot her obituary in the news I read. As you say, there's no explaining what they decide is "important". But I'm glad I got the word before it was years away, so thank you, indeed. She deserves more than a little respect.

 
At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Make sure you do a spell check when you write your articles. It's shameful to be a journalist and can't spell.....

 
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At 6:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you cant spell

 
At 1:00 PM, Anonymous mbamom01 said...

anonymous I agree with the spell check! I also think its a shame for a journalist to mix up a gospel singer with a political activist of her caliber! By the way, Shirley Ceasar is NOT dead!

 
At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before you post AA history, please please do your research! You still mixed her up with Shirley Ceasar, her beautiful music? Cmon man! get it together brotha!

 
At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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