First Black American Congresswoman Gets Her Monument

First Black American Congresswoman, Shirley Chisolm, Will Get a Monument in New York, After Years of Delay.

Jul 20, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
First Black American Congresswoman
Shirley Chisolm monument. Via Cultured


First black American congresswoman gets an honorable installation in New York. The NY authorities finally approved this suggestion, after years of delay. The plan for putting a public monument first appeared in 2018, but the pandemic caused a delay with the project. Artists Amanda Williams and Olalekan B. Jeyifous designed the sculpture.


First Black American Congresswoman in Green and Yellow

Shirley Chisolm monument. Via Cultured


The New York Public Design Commission approved the process. This commission serves to monitor the public wealth and monuments of the city. The sculpture, designed by the aforementioned artists, consists of a depiction of the congresswoman’s face in green and yellow. The authority made a decision just three days ago, on July 17th. In the near future, it will get positioned close to Prospect Park’s southeast entry in Brooklyn.


Chislom became the first black congresswoman in 1968. She is certainly a role model for people of color, but also to all marginalized parts of society. She certainly showed that everything is possible, if you fight hard enough for what you want. For years after getting into Congress, she ran for the president. Chislom was also the fist Black woman to fight for this position.


Courtesy of the artists.


The initiative to create Chislom’s monument came as a result of efforts to pay more attention to black women, who are lacking in the city. In 2018, there were only five actual monuments which honored black women. On the other hand, there were almost two hundred celebrating men. “Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s legacy of leadership and activism has paved the way for thousands of women to seek public office”, said New York’s former first lady Chirlane McCray.

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What Inspired the Artists?

Shirley Chisolm monument. Courtesy Olalekan Jeyifous and Amanda Williams


McCray also added: “She is exactly a kind of the New York woman whose contributions we should honour with representation in our public spaces.”. The artists applied for the design through participation in the public call for the erection of the monument. This took place in 2019. The artwork’s shape resembles the spire of the US Capitol complex. Additionally, it has engraved images of vegetation indigenous to Barbados, where Chisholm spent a short amount of time as a youngster.


“Our project celebrates Shirley Chisholm’s legacy as a civil servant who left the door open, to make room for others to follow in her path toward equity and a place in our country’s political landscape”, Williams and Jeyifous said of their proposal. We designed a monument in which her iconic visage can be immediately recognizable while also equally portraying the power, beauty, and dimensionality of her contributions to our democracy”, the artists said.


Courtesy of the artists.


Laurie Cumbo, the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs under current Mayor Eric Adams, quelled those fears. “This administration is committed to working to tell a more complete story surrounding the trailblazing women who have shaped our city, and we are ready to get more of these projects back underway”, she said.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.