Press Release

NAACP Mourns Passing of Rep. Shirley Chisholm

January 4, 2005

Rep. Robert T. Matsui, Congressman who supported civil rights legislation, also dies.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) mourns the passing of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, a long-time fighter for social justice and civil rights.

“Shirley Chisholm’s election to the Congress in 1968 was a prime example of the strength of the black vote as a result of the 1965 Voting Rights Act,” said NAACP Acting President and CEO Dennis Courtland Hayes. “She leaves a strong legacy as an advocate for minority rights and women’s liberation.”

Mrs. Chisholm, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and a life member of the NAACP, died January 1. She represented the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn until she retired in 1983. In 1972 Mrs. Chisholm ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. Although her candidacy was unsuccessful, her efforts paved the way for future presidential runs by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

The NAACP also regrets the death of Rep. Robert T. Matsui of California on Saturday. His unwavering support of the NAACP’s civil rights legislative agenda on Capital Hill helped forge a binding relationship between the African American and Asian American communities. Mr. Matsui, a 14-term congressman, consistently received the grade of “A” on the annual NAACP Civil Rights Legislative Report Card.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and privates sectors.

CONTACT: NAACP Office of Communications 410.580.5125