Black women are among the Democratic Party’s most loyal supporters. As such, they have buoyed everyone from white men to a black man and, now, a white woman to the top of the ticket. Unlike Hillary Clinton, a black woman has yet to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. But that doesn’t mean several haven’t tried.
Multiple black women have run for president—be it as Democrats, Republicans, Communists, on the Green Party ticket or that of another party.
Get to know the African American women who tried to make history before Clinton did with this roundup of black female presidential candidates.
Many Americans have the mistaken belief that Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman to run for president, but that distinction actually goes to Charlene Alexander Mitchell. Mitchell ran neither as a Democrat nor a Republican but as a Communist.
Mitchell was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1930, but her family later moved to Chicago. They lived in the famous Cabrini Green projects, and Mitchell took an early interest in politics, acting as a youth organizer to protest racial segregation in the Windy City. She joined the Communist Party USA in 1946, when she was just 16.
Twenty-two years later, Mitchell launched her unsuccessful presidential bid with running mate, Michael Zagarell, the National Youth Director of the Communist Party. Given that the pair were only put on the ballot in two states, winning the election wasn’t just a longshot but simply impossible.
That year wouldn’t be Mitchell"s last in politics. She ran as an Independent Progressive for U.S. Senator from New York in 1988 but lost to Daniel Moynihan.
Shirley Chisholm is arguably the most famous black woman to run for president. That’s because, unlike most of the black women on this list, she actually ran as a Democrat rather than on a third party ticket.
Chisholm was born on Nov. 30, 1924, in Brooklyn, New York. However, she grew up partly in Barbados with her grandmother. The same year that Mitchell launched her failed presidential bid, 1968,