Black Women Want to Run the (U.S.) House

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Jul 27, 2020

More than 50 years after Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress in 1969, at least 122 Black or self-identified multi-racial Black women filed to run for a U.S. House of Representative seat this year, up from 48 in 2012, according to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), Reuters reported today (July 27). Reuters noted that according to the Collective PAC, nearly 60 of these Black women are still standing.

“People are becoming more comfortable with seeing different kinds of people in Congress,” said Pam Keith, who is running for a Democratic congressional seat in Florida, to Reuters. “You don’t know what it looks like to have powerful Black women in Congress until you see powerful Black women in Congress.”

There are many who agree, as the nation witnessed in the historic 2018 races and during this year’s primaries when Ferguson elected Ella Jones, its first Black major six years after Michael Brown’s killing by a Missouri police officer and the national protests that followed. After 2018’s surprise wins, the badass four member-group known as the Squad emerged—Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.).

The Brookings Institute reports that Black folks are more likely to elect a Black woman to office.

As these women look towards the fall, they have their eyes set on changing many of those red (Republican) House seats to blue (Democrat). And they feel they have an even stronger chance now with the pandemic, economic woes and racial unrest unsettling the country. 

It may be 2020, but in some states, such as Arkansas, a Black woman winning would mean the first time ever that a Black person gets to rep in Congress, Reuters writes.