From One 1st to Another: U.S. Representative-Elect Cori Bush Paid Tribute to Shirley Chisholm Following Her Historic Win in Missouri

Cori Bush poses at the premiere of Knock Down the House during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, in Park City, Utah.; a portrait of former Rep. Shirley Chisholm painted by Kadir Nelson.
Cori Bush poses at the premiere of Knock Down the House during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, in Park City, Utah.; a portrait of former Rep. Shirley Chisholm painted by Kadir Nelson.
Photo: Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP, Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images

We may not know yet whether Kamala Harris will become the first Black (and Asian) woman elected vice president of the United States, but we do know for sure that the nurse and Ferguson activist turned progressive Democratic candidate Cori Bush is officially the first Black woman elected to Congress in the state of Missouri. In fact, Bush won by the landslide that an America less invested in racism would’ve given the Biden-Harris ticket—earning 79 percent of the vote over Republican Anthony Rogers (h/t AP), making her the first Black woman to lead Missouri’s 1st congressional district in its 173-year history.

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Following her historic win, the U.S. representative-elect gave a nod to another trailblazer; one who has made her run and those of so many other Black female candidates (including Harris) possible. On Wednesday, Bush posted a picture to social media of herself standing beneath the Kadir Nelson-painted portrait of Shirley Chisholm that hangs in the Cannon Caucus Room in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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“Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress 52 years ago. Today, I became the first Black woman elected to represent Missouri in Congress,” Bush wrote in a Twitter thread following the picture, which she simply captioned, “The First.” “It’s 2020. I shouldn’t be the first, but I am honored to carry this responsibility,” she added.

Chisholm, who represented New York’s 12th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives for seven terms from 1969 to 1983, also became the first Black candidate to compete for a major party’s nomination in the 1972 United States presidential election, as well as the first woman to run for the Democratic party’s nomination. Also an educator and activist, the political pioneer was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the first Black president, Barack Obama, in 2015.

“To all the counted outs, the forgotten abouts, the marginalized, and the pushed asides. This is our moment,” Bush wrote in another tweet. “We came together to end a 52-year family dynasty. That’s how we build the political revolution.”

Bush also gave a somber reminder of why she ran, and why the momentum of the Movement for Black Lives must be maintained well beyond election season.

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“Mike Brown was murdered 2,278 days ago. We took to the streets for more than 400 days in protest,” she wrote. “Today, we take this fight for Black Lives from the streets of Ferguson to the halls of Congress. We will get justice.”

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

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