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Unbought And Unbossed

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  701 ratings  ·  119 reviews
Unbought and Unbossed is Shirley Chisholm's account of her remarkable rise from young girl in Brooklyn to America's first African-American Congresswoman. She shares how she took on an entrenched system, gave a public voice to millions, and sets the stage for her trailblazing bid to be the first woman and first African-American President of the United States. By daring to b ...more
Hardcover, 177 pages
Published October 1st 1970 by Houghton Mifflin
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Emily It means that if you're not invited to a conversation, if you're not part of something and your voice needs to be heard, show up anyways and speak up.…moreIt means that if you're not invited to a conversation, if you're not part of something and your voice needs to be heard, show up anyways and speak up.(less)

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Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"One bill that I introduced should become law in every state, but unfortunately it did not succeed even in New York. It would have made it mandatory for policemen to successfully complete courses in civil rights, civil liberties, minority problems, and race relations before they are appointed to a police department." Shirley Chisholm, 1970. ...more
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A well-crafted memoir about a stellar and abstemious political figure who actually gasp wanted to do her job, i.e.- uncompromisingly serve her constituents to the best of her ability without resorting to the dirty, ineffectual, time-wasting tactics of her counterparts. Not only was this an autobiography, it was a critical exposé of the sociopolitical problems that she encountered. “Unbought and Unbossed” didn't limit itself to only issues surrounding a “Black female" in a profession dominated by ...more
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When I talk to people about Shirley Chisholm I am surprised how many people do not remember her. She was a trailblazer in the truest sense of the word. She radiated qualities of tenacity, passion, and confidence.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Though the term has been carelessly tossed around over the past couple years, Shirley Chisholm embodied the definition of "political outsider". A regular, Black woman schoolteacher from Brooklyn, Chisholm knew that her very presence ran counter to the political agendas within both New York & national politics, but she gathered the guts to take them to task anyways. Chisholm understood how to run a real grassroots political campaign, standing firm in her decision to be a voice for the most disenf ...more
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is partly about Congresswoman Chisholm's career, but it is moreso a very in-depth look at the inner workings of our government and how and why it operates--and how she tried to work within it to get things done for her people.

I worked on the hill as a computer installer (during the Lewinski scandal) and saw some of the things she spoke on first hand, and it is sad to see that nothing changed from when she wrote this book.

A great book, and well worth your time to read to understand ho
Carmen Slaughter
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Compelling read. So much of what she expresses in this book, written over four decades ago, is still pertinent. However, there are some passages that clearly define her as a prophet. I think she would be extremely proud of how far we've come but as she says in her closing paragraph,"There must be a new coalition of all Americans - black, white, red, yellow, and brown, rich and poor - who are no longer willing to allow their rights as human beings to be infringed upon by anyone else, for any reas ...more
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“One question bothers me a lot: Who’s listening to me? Some of the time, I feel dishearteningly small and futile. It’s as if I’m facing a seamless brick wall, as if most people are deaf to what I try to say. It seems so clear to me what’s wrong with the whole system. Why isn’t it clear to most others?”

Love love loved this book & Shirley Chisholm. Incredibly inspiring & a good reminder to keep fighting for what you believe in. READ THIS BOOK!
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read this book. Especially if you're as pissed off as I am about the way things have gone. The current state of things in this country are a mess and Ms. Chisholm saw it all from a distance. I think there's still hope. But educating ourselves it the first step forward. ...more
Kylee Ehmann
Shirley Chisholm was one of our nation's most spectacular leaders, and if all of Congress followed her philosophy of truly working for the people and living with us, we'd be in a better place. I struggle with biographies that are meandering, and I deeply love that she gets to the point. The book's pace is fast and its tone is inspiring. ...more
Renee Ortenzio
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
She hated being remembered as a 'first', but she was. The first black, female congressman. Her memoir is over 40 years old, but it is still so very relevant today. Substitute newer politicians names, and this could have been written in 2016. A must read. ...more
Books are TARDIS
Shirley Chisholm is the truest and bravest icon to me. She is such a beacon of hope and light for women. I couldn't uphold this person higher, if I tried. What a powerful read. #Respect
Winter Sophia Rose
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Pioneer, Trailblazer, Inspiring & Classy To The End.
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A true maverick indeed.. Mrs. Chisholm is such an inspiration.
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you are looking for the story of the struggle of women in politics, look no further. Shirley Chisholm lived intersectionality decades before it was a thing.
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crazy how I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn't current politics. ...more
Feb 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"My God, what do we want? What does any human being want? Take away an accident of pigmentation of a thin layer of our outer skin and there is no difference between me and anyone else. All we want is for that trivial difference to make no difference. What can I say to a man who asks that? All I can do is try to explain to him why he asks the question. You have looked at us for years as different from you that you may never see us really. You don’t understand because you think of us as second-cla ...more
I don't enjoy politics, and I don't enjoy reading about politics, but I do enjoy women's history. Shirley Chisholm published this book in 1970, after recently becoming the first black Congresswoman. How refreshing to read the story of someone who went into politics to help people. Chisholm was not a career politician, but someone who tried to change the system from the inside.

I love her candidness and her clarity. Her conviction. "It seems so clear to me what is wrong with the whole system. Why
Derek Lynch
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shirley Chisholm is everything & this book chronicles her life from birth to serving as the first Black woman congressperson in US history.

Pros: Chisholm’s voice is clear and her morals are unflinching - she sticks to her principles even when facing misogynoir & rampant discrimination at the hands of colleagues. What stands out to me most, though, is Chisholm’s insistence that she be more than just “the first” - she’s an effective advocate, legislator, and communicator who fights for the rights
Jan Lynch
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
Shirley Chisholm's memoir beautifully catches her vibrant, upbeat voice. Chisholm didn't play political games, didn't compromise her values. Almost fifty years later, Chisholm's words still sound contemporary. Among other issues she addresses in this memoir: racism; helping the poor to move into prosperity, and who should be in charge of programs to do so; serving the needs of one's constituents versus preserving one's political career or lining one's pockets; women's rights, the ERA, and aborti ...more
Heather Nonaca
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you need a hero, Shirley Chisholm is cape-worthy and lives up to the title of her book, “Unbought and Unbossed.” I wouldn’t have imagined that something written in 1970 would be so timely today, but her writing demonstrates the scary thought that while much has changed in America since she wrote the book, unfortunately many things remain the same. Intersectionality, white privilege, racism, white supremacy, and sexism are all present throughout the telling of her life and career in politics t ...more
Janelle Lyons
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Shirley Chisholm was a force. Truly, she was the real deal. Her integrity, passion, and drive shine through in this autobiography.

Parts of this book gave me shivers at how brutally honest Chisholm is in her recommendations and descriptions of the issues here in the United States, but even more so, I felt sheer frustration at how little has changed. As much as she was a fighter, I’m sure she would have shed a tear if she had known how little this country would have progressed up to 2021, an
Christine (Queen of Books)
A book I feel lucky to have read.

Chisholm talks about her own work, but along the way shares insights on racism, sexism, women's reproductive health, and politics & policy. Published in 1970, many of her thoughts continue to ring true today (for better and for worse).

Though 201 pages, it was a slow read for me, due to a combination of copious highlighting, poor e-book formatting, and wanting to soak up every word.

“I want history to remember me not just as the first Black woman to be elected to C
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve always heard her name but never her story. This woman was a powerhouse. Much of what she fought for and the political climate she describes in the 1960s is identical to what we are still dealing with today. The progress is excruciatingly slow, but it’s there. She deserves more recognition. I will be reading and watching everything I can find on her.
Lauren Franklin
Sooooo many words from this book stood out to me. Shirley Chisholm was women before her time. She had the same thoughts and ideas as the women in the political arena today. She would have flourished as a rising politician today!

This book is worth a read and a RE-read.

May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shirley Chisholm was revolutionary. I highlighted entire passages. If you want to understand how the political system works by an unbossed and unbought woman who fought against it, then this is a must read.
Such a fascinating read. And very appropriate for this place and time. With the influx of women, youth and people of color into our legislature It's interesting to look back at the first black woman congresswoman. It is quite sad to see how little progress we've made in the past 50 years. Shirley certainly foresaw the importance of the influx of women, youth and persona of color into politics. This is an incredible read. I learned a lot about Shirley and about politics in the 50s and 60s. ...more
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting, informative, and shockingly still relevant in 2019.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lot of politicians' books are tiresome garbage that no one really wants to read except political science majors and uber fans. Chisholm's work is like her personality, direct, compelling, forceful. What's interesting to me is that I see a lot of Chisholm's spirit in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the idea that our representatives are there to make our lives better, that they work for us, that it's an act of service to be in Congress. Instead, the same kinds of grasping climbers and money grubs who ...more
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ms. Chisholm was a true woman for the people. Her political career and mantra should be the blueprint for politicians in 2020.
Mar 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm old enough to remember Shirley Chisholm, so of course she's a hero of mine. If you don't remember her or she isn't yet your hero, please just read this book and she will be. She was the first African-American woman elected to Congress, and she ran for president in 1972.

This short book was written in 1970, but she could have written it yesterday, I'm afraid. In terms of political deal-making, poverty, racism, and sexism, things have either worsened or changed very little since then. What a br
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Shirley Anita St. Hill was born in Brooklyn, New York, of immigrant parents. Her father, Charles Christopher St. Hill, was born in British Guiana and arrived in the United States via Antilla, Cuba, on April 10, 1923, aboard the S.S. Munamar in New York City. Her mother, Ruby Seale, was born in Christ Church, Barbados, and arrived in New York City aboard the S.S. Pocone on March 8, 1921. At age thr ...more

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