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01-02-2005, 09:39 PM
Shirley Chisholm, first black Congresswoman, dies

10:40 PM CST on Sunday, January 2, 2005

Associated Press

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and an outspoken advocate for women and minorities during seven terms in the House, died Saturday, friends said. She was 80.

"She was our Moses that opened the Red Sea for us," Robert E. Williams, president of the NAACP in Flagler County, told The Associated Press late Sunday. He did not have the details of her death.

Chisholm, who was raised in a predominantly black New York City neighborhood and was elected to the U.S. House in 1968, was a riveting speaker who often criticized Congress as being too clubby and unresponsive.

"My greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear, is my mouth, out of which come all kinds of things one shouldn't always discuss for reasons of political expediency," she told voters.

She went to Congress the same year Richard Nixon was elected to the White House and served until two years into Ronald Reagan tenure as president.

"Anyone that came in contact with her, they had a feeling of a careness, and they felt that she was very much a part of each individual as she represented her district," William Howard, her longtime campaign treasurer, said Sunday.