“MRS.” PRESIDENT: The Political Trials & Triumphs of Shirley Chisholm, The “First” Lady of American Politics

“MRS.” PRESIDENT

The Political Trials & Triumphs of Shirley Chisholm, The “First” Lady of American Politics

by:

Brad Kronen

A portrait of
Congresswoman
Shirley Chisholm
taken in 1970

In the United States, two signs of the Zodiac are looked to regarding the world of Politics and Political “Firsts”.  To be expected, one sign is literal to its core, the other, for lack of a more apropos description, is  far more political in nature. The sign which rules over the House of Politics and All Things Political, otherwise known as the 9th House, is overseen by the last of the Fire Signs, Sagittarius the Centaur whereas the sign associated with “Firsts” of any kind, political or otherwise, is ruled by the last of the Air signs which has quite the  strongly held inner motivation of needing to always “dare to be different” the rebellious Air sign of Aquarius, the Water Bearer. To provide a better astrological perspective: One’s political affiliation or leanings are more or less found within the 9th House of Politics, which is naturally ruled by the sign of Sagittarius, whereas the majority of men who have aspired to become President of the United States have predominantly been born beneath two signs in particular, Aquarius and Scorpio.

A good example that shows the the political mode of Astrology is the Mount Rushmore Monument-RUDIMENTARY AMERICAN CIVICS POP QUIZ, EVERYONE!

Name the four American Presidents whose likenesses are carved in stone at the national monument otherwise known as Mount Rushmore located in South Dahota…READY? GO!!!!!!!

1.George Washington

2. Abraham Lincoln

3. less obvious and more,,,,,,tricky

4. Can I get a historical life line and call a friend?

#’s 1 and 2 are the easy historical heavy hitters.

# 3 Thomas Jefferson.

# 4 Theodore or “Teddy” Roosevelt

The men pictured on Mt. Rushmore fit the political scheme of things astrologically (more or less) when simply looking at their birthdays.  The writer of the Declaration of Independence, #3 Thomas Jefferson, can be lumped next to George Washington under the category of “Founding Fathers” given the man was born beneath the first sign of all .the Zodiac, Aries.  #4 Teddy Roosevelt, although not the most well-known among this country’s leaders, was born a Scorpio, and as already mentioned, is one of the two signs most American Presidents have been born under.  The other sign, Aquarius, is represented by the Presidents who are still left.  Technically, #1, George Washington, being born on February 22nd was born on the cusp between the signs of Pisces and Aquarius, but when Washington is positioned next to #2, “Honest Abe” Lincoln, who was born on February 12th, we can see how vitally strong the sign of Aquarius is amongst the majority of this country’s most beloved leaders.

But so far, all that’s been discussed  have been Presidents who were all clearly members of the Boy’s Club of Men.  In Astrology, the main components that determine a person’s overall personality are 3 things:  the sign and House positions of one’s Sun, one’s Moon, as well as the sign where the Horizon, better known as the “Rising Sign”, was placed at the time of one’s birth. Based on what has been discussed so far, should it be any surprise the lady who was the first in this country to ever run for the position of President of the United States was born beneath the sign which rules over the House of Politics. Sagittarius?  This same woman not only was the first to run for President, she also was the first from both her gender and her race to do so and made history by being the first woman and African American to be elected to the Congress of the United States. All of this should come as no surprise when realizing the great Shirley Chisholm was born a Sagittarian with Aquarius Rising  and with an Aquarius Moon to boot.  As we shall see, Mrs. Chisholm was destined to change the foundation of American politics by serving as a political trailblazer for the American people as a whole.

The Natal Chart for Shirley Chisolm, born on November 30th, 1924, Brooklyn. NY

Shirley Chisholm was born Shirley Anita St. Hill on November 30th, 1924 in an area she would come to represent in the American government, Brooklyn, New York.  She was the eldest of four girls. Her parents, Charles and Ruby St. Hill, were both immigrants from the Caribbean island of Barbados.  When Shirley turned five in 1929, she and two of her younger sisters went to live with their maternal grandmother, Emmaline Seale, in Christ’s Church, Barbados.  Shirley’s early education was spent in a 1 room schoolhouse.   She credited the strict environment of  British- style schooling for enabling her with the ease to speak, read, and write as an adult before she  returned to Brooklyn once again in 1934. 

St. Hill attended Brooklyn College and graduated cum laude while earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Education  in 1946.  She soon became an authority on issues involving early education and child welfare.

St. Hill worked as a nursery school teacher while earning a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Columbia University in 1951. Two years earlier,  in 1949 she married Conrad Chisholm, a private investigator.

  It was in the decade of the 1950’s that Chisholm first entered the world of Politics. She first joined the local chapters of The League of Women Voters, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as well as The Urban League and by 1960 she was a consultant to the New York City Division of Day Care.  In 1964, Chisholm became the 2nd African American to serve in the New York State Legislature.  In 1968 Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman ever elected to the United States Congress. Representing New York’s 12th Congressional District, which included the Bedford- Stuyvesant neighborhood,  Chisholm would serve in Congress’ House of Representatives for 7 terms, from 1969 to 1983.  Known as “Fighting Shirley”, Chisholm would introduce over 50 pieces of legislature. She fought for and championed over such critical domestic issues as gender and racial equality, the plight of the poor, and ending the Vietnam War.

Even more impressively, in 1972 Shirley Chisholm became the first African American associated with a major party to run for President of the United States and was the first woman to run as one of the Democratic Party’s presidential nominees.  Following her time in Congress, Shirley Chisholm was a  highly sought after lecturer and public speaker and taught at Mount Holyoke Women’s College.  In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated Chisholm for the position of Ambassador to Jamaica, but she had to turn it down due to health reasons.  Shirley Chisholm died on January 1st, 2005.  In 2015, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

A”Catalyst For Change”

When it was first suggested to Shirley  that she should enter the world of Politics, Chisholm mockingly responded why would she ever willingly enter an arena where she had the “2 most obvious handicaps:  being a woman and being black,”  Unaware of the immense difficulties she would have to face, Chisholm later admitted she experienced far more resistance running as a woman in the “Boys’ Club” of Politics, than as a person of color. In fact, when she was first elected to Congress in 1968, Chisholm was the only woman in her entire Freshmen Class that year.

Shirley Chisholm’s remarkable political background is deeply rooted in her astrological formation, To begin, we must look at the foundation behind her Ascendant and Moon signs- Aquarius.

Aquarius 101 – The sign of Aquarius is also known by numerous surnames.The last of the Air signs is ruled by the planet that only recently astronomers have gotten to better understand- the oddball planet Uranus. With the massive advances made in Science over the last 40 years or so, scientists have been able to provide much more clarity over planetary aspects that until recently were completely shrouded in mystery. For starters, with the improvement of most telescopes’ level of magnitude, scientists were able to see a thread of commonality the planet Uranus shares with other heavenly bodies such as Jupiter, Neptune and most especially, Saturn:

Like the ringed planet Saturn, Uranus, too, has rings.

But unlike Saturn’s rings which encircle the planet “hoola hoop” style, Uranus’ rings go up and over its orb,  “jump rope” style.

Observing the planet which rules over the sign of the Water Bearer strictly through an astronomical lens sheds some light on the dualistic nature of the Aquarian personality; for no matter how hard they try or how much they long to be a member of a defined group, the inherently fierce individualism and natural quirkiness displayed by the typical Aquarius forces them to stick out like the sorest of thumbs.

The seventh planet furthest from the Sun has an axis that’s tilted sideways, giving Uranus THE most erratic orbital path of planetary motion. (Picture an egg flying through outer space on its side). Where the other planets’ axes range between 3 degrees (Jupiter) to 29 (Saturn, Neptune), Uranus stands far apart from the rest of the heavenly bodies orbiting the center of our Solar System with its axis being tilted 98 degrees off its orbital plane.  Because its orbital motion propels it practically on its side, Uranus’ magnetic field doesn’t emanate from the center of the planet and its north and south poles lie where all the other lemming planets have their equators.

Aquarius – Duality in Motion
The Air signs of Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are mentally stimulated the most by the concept of the joining of polar opposites otherwise known as juxtaposition or duality. 

Aquarius is known as the “sign of groups”.  The Aquarian deeply desires to be part of a group, any group but their inherent quirkiness puts a lid on that thought mighty quick.

The sign of the Water Bearer is also known as the “sign of Friendship”. In this day and age the “group”people in the modern day identify with most is their friends.  But with non-warm words such as “cold” “chilly” and “icy” to describe the typical Aquarian personality, they by far are the sign that’s hardest to buddy up with. An Aquarian’s friendship must be earned over time, and one risks getting maced in the face if a person tries being BFF’s with one born beneath the sign of the Water Bearer too soon or prematurely.

And lastly, the sign that is so naturally unique and different is also known as the “egalitarian sign” where no matter a person’s age, gender, religious/political affiliation, or choice of favorite character from the Star Wars Trilogy, etc. etc. everyone is treated and spoken to exactly the same by those born under the last of the Air signs.

The planet of the modern day that rules over the sign of the Water Bearer is the heavenly body that goes against the planetary crowd.  Whereas every other member of our Solar System has a name of Roman origin, Uranus stands apart from the planetary norm by virtue of its name being based in ancient Greek.

This foundational trait of sticking out like a sore thumb without even trying is predominantly why Aquarius is the sign most reputed for its uniqueness and fierce sense of individuality and those born beneath it are inherently quirky and are in no way “normal”, “average”, or “typical” which is exactly how your everyday Aquarian (as if there were such a thing) likes it.

And just so everyone is all on the same leveling board of the Aquarian spaceship, the words “normal”, “average”, or “typical” are the most offensively vile curse words one can say to an Aquarian and it is highly recommended they never be uttered aloud in their presence.

To recap, the sign of Aquarius deals with the following concepts:

Individuality, Originality, Intellectual Genius or Brilliance, Quirkiness, Friendship, and Groups.

Along with some other traits we didn’t have The Age of Aquarius to discuss: Futurism, Rebellion, Anti-Traditionalism, Anarchy, Anti-Sentimentalism, Science, Technology, anything Sci-Fi (in particular Star Wars related), and (Surprise!) Astrology.

The MENSA Members of the Zodiac
With the sign of the Water Bearer being the last representative of the element known for its communication skills and powers of rational thought (Hint: AIR) those born beneath this sign tend to be highly intelligent. Additionally with their modern planetary ruler referred to as the “brilliant planet” as well as  the“planet of genius” what makes the Aquarian’s intelligence stand out is their ability to produce thoughts that are highly original with many of them having never been conceptualized before.

With that IN MIND (get it?) it should be no surprise that a goodly portion of the world’s inventors like Thomas Edison along with the most precocious Wunderkinds like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart were all born beneath the sign of the Water Bearer.

Aquarius’ modern planetary ruler was discovered in 1781, a time in Western History when revolution abounded with the American Revolution of 1776, the French Revolution of 1789, and the Haitian Revolution of 1791. 

Thus far I have been describing the personality traits of a person born with their Sun placed in the sign of Aquarius. Now picture that same person born with their Moon and Rising Signs placed in Aquarius, like Mrs. Chisholm. Additionally, Shirley Chisholm was born with the planet which dares to be different, better known as Uranus, placed in Her First House of Overall Self conjunct the planet which naturally rules over that House, Mars. This would mean that Uranus’ personality traits would be even more pronounced in Mrs. Chisholm’s sense of self. The woman made herself clearly recognizable by her sharp sense of style that was always fashionably tidy and throughout her life Mrs. Chisholm spoke with a heavy lisp and audibly stood out by her West Indian accent which she obtained during her formative school years spent on the island of Barbados.

Shirley Chisholm’s outer appearance made her come across like a person’s very neat and tidy next door neighbor who seemed always to be quirkily good-natured. Her perpetually pleasant public persona had a beaming smile that never appeared to go away, but Heaven Help those who mistakenly believed that was all there was or assumed she was a super nice lady who was a total pushover when things became challenging or difficult! One thing Shirley Chisholm became extraordinarily good at by being both a woman and an African American was standing her ground and always commanding respect from others. Her Uranian mind was lightning fast and quite formidable. If her debating skills couldn’t convince a person to see her point of view, her gracious manners and disarming smile did almost every time.

Shirley was not only a brilliantly stirring public speaker, she was the creator of a lexicon of memorable quotes as well. One of Shirley’s most well loved quotes that is often referred to today sums up her Sagittarian optimism made presentable by her Aquarian genius:

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

Shirley Chisholm is sworn in as the first black American to be elected to Congress by House Speaker John McCormack in January of 1969.(history.com)

I personally like to think of Shirley Chisholm as the penultimate example of the optimistic realist. She first took the Congressional Oath of Office in January of 1969, at the tail end of a decade filled with deadly revolt,where the lives of many personalities of enormous potential such as JFK, RFK, and Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. were being snuffed out by the senseless violence of assassination. Frankly, it must have seemed quite dangerous to be getting involved in American Politics at that time. Being born under the element of Fire which prefers to be in action as often as possible, Shirley Chisholm knew she had to act upon her words, but was grounded enough to know societal change did not happen overnight along with the fact the force of Change was not something most people readily embraced or easily accepted. This was reflected in two of her most well-loved quotes of self evaluation:

”You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.”

and

“I am and always will be a catalyst for change.”

Her gift of observant realism was evident when she said the following words of wisdom:

Any time things appear to be going better, you have overlooked something.”

and

“I love America not for what she is, but for what she can become.”

Shirley Chisholm ran for President of the United States in 1972. She intrinsically knew it would be a futile and an utterly hopeless battle. However she also sensed that if she was not the first woman of color to at least try attempting such a daunting uphill task, then who ultimately would?

On the night Chisholm declared her candidacy for President on January 25th, 1972, she showed her astrological grit with these visionary words while making her acceptance speech:

“I am not the candidate of Black America, although I am Black and proud, I am not the candidate of the women’s movement of this country, although I am a woman, and I am equally proud of that… I am the candidate of the people of America. And my presence before you now symbolizes a new era in American political history.”

The 1972 Democratic Presidential campaign focused strictly on defeating the Republican President, Richard M. Nixon. To the Democrats, all that mattered was their nominee stood a chance of defeating the nation’s leader who had already served 1 Presidential Term. Shirley Chisholm ran against a group of all white men, with her biggest opponents being the former Vice President to Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, the man who ended up as the Democratic nominee (and who lost by a landslide), Senator George McGovern, along with the governor of the state of Alabama, George Wallace. The fact that a man like Wallace, who was strongly in favor of segregation as well as the intensely racist Jim Crow laws still enforced in the Southern states was competing in the same political race against a woman of color like Shirley Chisholm was shockingly noteworthy. Referring to my comment about how dangerous the Politics of the late 1960’s must have seemed, on May 15th, 1972 an attempt was made by a formerly convicted criminal to assassinate George Wallace at a rally in Maryland. Wallace was shot by 5 bullets and ended up being paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life. Shirley Chisholm garnered a massive wave of criticism when she visited Wallace in the hospital. When asked by a a news reporter about her visit to see Wallace, she said:

“He said, ‘What are your people going to say?’ I said: ‘I know what they’re going to say. But I wouldn’t want what happened to you to happen to anyone.”

The rest of the country wasn’t nearly as sympathetic, however. In North Carolina, after it was revealed that she had dared to visit George Wallace the segregationist in the hospital, black male leaders held a rally against Chisholm where it was announced to crowds gathered there:

“A vote for Shirley Chisholm is a vote for George Wallace!”

On the Presidential campaign trail, Chisholm knew she never stood a chance, but never would she have also guessed what little support she would receive from Feminist groups and her fellow political colleagues who were black men. This was made painfully apparent when the most vocal feminist in the country, Gloria Steinem and Shirley’s colleague, Reverend Jesse Jackson publicly stated they both backed George McGovern to win. Believing their votes still counted, many Democrats forewent voting for Shirley in order to support whomever they thought had the strongest chance of defeating Nixon.

Shirley Chisholm campaign poster.

A poster for Shirley Chisholm’s Presidential campaign in 1972 The words at the bottom were used for the title of her autobiography called “Unbought and Unbossed”. (libraryofcongress)

Even after officially announcing her run for President, the public still did not take seriously the fact that a woman was vying for such an auspicious position. In The Wall Street Journal, journalist Norman Mailer described Chisholm’s Presidential run as “quixotic”. and went on to negatively say “Few politicians, black or white, believe it.

The Chicago Daily Defender audaciously described Chisholm competing for the most powerful job in American government as “vaginal politics” . And unsurprisingly to her, racists vandalized her campaign materials writing “N**** go Home!” on a large number of her Presidential posters.

Chisholm’s biographer, Anastasia Curwood, states that Shirley would often say to her “I just wanted to show it can be done.”

The Chisholm team had a non-existent budget of $40,000 for their campaign, an amount of money, which of itself, was a fraction of what a TV commercial would cost in just one state at that time. Clearly Mrs.Chisholm was unfamiliar with the”do”s and “don’t”s of how to run a Presidential campaign, but when considering her legacy and how many people Shirley Chisholm has influenced at present , the results are a resounding victory.

Shirley died just three years before an African American man became President, but her determination and tireless willpower affected President Barack Obama all the same when he described Shirley as “having a profound commitment to Justice.

It’s hard to believe that in the year 2021 the United States has yet to know what many other countries have already experienced, a female Leader and Chief. However the woman who currently stands the greatest chance of becoming this country’s first female President and is a political pioneer in her own right, when Kamala Harris made history by being the first Asian American and woman of color to become Vice President of the United States. On her Inauguration Day this past January 20th, Harris wore a striking dress and outer coat colored a deep royal purple. Purple is a powerful political color representing bipartisanship ( the combination of Republican red with Democratic blue). Many believe, however that Vice President Harris wore such a unique color that day to also commemorate Shirley Chisholm, whom she claims “paved the way” for her. Harris has also stated how much of an effect the First lady of American politics has had on her when she was quoted as saying

“We stand on the shoulders of Shirley Chisholm and Shirley Chisholm stood proud.”

Power of purple and pearls: Deep-rooted symbolism in Kamala Harris'  inauguration that saw historic firsts

Kamala Harris is sworn in as this country’s first Asian American Vice President on January 20th, 2021. Harris credits Shirley Chisholm for”paving the way” for her.(timesnownews.com)

**Brad Kronen has written over 30 books about the role Astrology plays in our daily lives. His most recent work are 12 dating guides written specifically for each sign of the Zodiac entitled “Love in the Stars” and can be purchased directly at amazon.com. The link below shows the edition written for Shirley Chisholm’s Sun sign of Sagittarius. Click on the link to search for an entire listing of all of Brad’s self published work!


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