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A Seat at the Table
A Seat at the Table

A Seat at the Table

The Life and Times of Shirley Chisholm


304 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, EPUB, PDF

Cloth, $30.00 (US $30.00) (CA $40.00)

Publication Date: March 2024

ISBN 9781641609265

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Mar 2024)
Lawrence Hill Books


eBook Editions Available

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Price: $30.00


When Shirley Chisholm was asked why she would dare run for president, her response was, why not her?
Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm rose from being the child of immigrants to the United States to running for the highest office in the land. She was both the first African American woman elected to the US Congress and the first African American woman of a major political party to make a serious run for president of the United States.
These achievements were not in spite of her background but rather because of it. She persevered by being steadfast in her political convictions and unwilling to compromise on the issues she believed in. Chisholm directly challenged the political establishment and gave a political voice to so many segments of society that were historically ignored—women, racial minorities, young people, the gay community, domestic and agricultural workers, and the poor—not only in her home district in Brooklyn, New York, but across the country.
Her run for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination may not have ended in victory, but it was successful in forging a grassroots campaign that united diverse Americans behind a candidate who championed their collective interests. Her efforts laid the groundwork for change then, now, and in the future.
Without Shirley Chisholm there may not have been a Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or Kamala Harris.


“Before reading A Seat at the Table, I thought I already knew the Shirley Chisholm story. As the first Black woman elected to Congress, she earned a place in history as a trailblazer who has inspired so many professional women and people of color. Drs. Brooks and Starks capture her journey from childhood in Barbados to local politics in New York, to Congress, and a run for president of the United States. This is a must read. With examples, the authors share her personal narrative and convey how she was passionate about equality and education as she navigated racism and sexism in the United States. She is an inspiration to all of us who serve the public good.” —Camille M. Davidson, dean of Southern Illinois University School of Law

“Drs. Starks and Brooks eloquently documents Shirley Chisholm’s accomplishments and experiences. This book not only sheds light on Chisholm’s impact on politics and community organizing but also reveals to many who were not aware that she was also an educator and influenced educational policy at the federal level. If you want to be transported through the personal and professional journey of Dr. Shirley Chisholm’s life, this is the book that will give you that experience.” —Dr. Roger Cleveland, professor in the College of Education, Eastern Kentucky University

“Shirley Chisholm was a catalytic change agent whose persistence made way and laid the foundation for Kamala Harris to be the first woman of color, the first Black woman, to serve as vice president of the United States. Ms. Chisholm’s boldness and contributions to the fight for equality for women and people of color are on full display in A Seat at the Table. This masterfully written book chronicles her life while highlighting the significance of her journey and the role it played in creating a legacy for others to emulate. A Seat at the Table truly embodies the Shirley Chisholm quote, ‘If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair’ by continuing to amplify her message of by any means necessary.” —Dr. Jermaine Wright, Vice President for Student Affairs at Lehman College/CUNY and former founding Associate Director of the City University of New York (CUNY) Black Male Initiative

From an impoverished upbringing to school teacher to congresswoman to presidential candidate, Shirley Chisholm’s remarkable life is wonderfully rendered in this nuanced and well-researched biography. Many who perhaps remember Chisholm as only a political force will also appreciate how thorough Starks and Brooks were in describing her childhood years in Barbados and Brooklyn during the Great Depression. In these fractured times, A Seat at the Table reminds us of a woman brave enough to reach across the aisle and ask for lasting change. Chisholm once said she wanted ‘to be remembered as a woman who fought for change.’ She will be—Starks and Brooks have made sure of that.” —Patrick Parr, author of The Seminarian: Martin Luther King Jr. Comes of Age

"A Seat at the Table is an engrossing narrative of Shirley Chisolm’s dynamic career of firsts. A fearless maverick, she forced her way into the corridors of power in an unrelenting fight for fairness and justice on behalf of the underprivileged, women, minorities, and children. The insights of Glenn L. Starks and F. Erik Brooks will help a new generation understand why so many stand on her shoulders.” —Karen Gray Houston, author of Daughter of the Boycott

"It’s a fascinating outline of an influential lawmaker’s grassroots path to power." —Publishers Weekly

Author Biography

Glenn L. Starks holds a doctorate in public policy and administration from Virginia Commonwealth University’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. He has almost thirty years of experience working for the United States government and has written extensively on public administration and American politics, including two recent books on the history of the United States government. He has taught graduate courses at Walden University since 2014. F. Erik Brooks holds a doctorate in public policy and administration from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has thirty years of experience in higher education. Brooks is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. He holds the rank of professor and has written extensively in the areas of African American history, public administration, and US politics.