Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chisholm '72: Unbought and Unbossed

Shola Lynch, 2004
76 minutes, documentary
Best for ages 5+

I was 11 in 1972 when Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm became the first woman and first black person to run as successfully as she did for president of the United States, and my son is 11 now. Watching this documentary with him and my 9-year-old daughter really put this year's campaign in perspective. The footage here demonstrates some of the long road that has led to Barack Obama's candidacy, reveals by contrast the shallowness of the media analysis of race and gender in the current campaign, and offers a refreshing, even bracing introduction to a candidate who was not afraid to speak out and take strong, clear, progressive positions. "I want to be remembered as a woman who dared to be a catalyst for change," said Chisholm. A great introduction to a figure your children should know about (even if they don't understand all of it), a primer in issues that come up in every campaign, and some good context related to the movements for the rights of women and African-Americans.

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