Uzo Aduba hopes her portrayal of Shirley Chisholm will shine a light on her legacy. In an interview with Newsweek, the Emmy winning actress opened up about what she hopes viewers will take away from her role as the late politician in the Hulu miniseries, Mrs. America, which debuts on Wednesday (April 15.)
“I hope there’s a real respect for her innate strength,” said Aduba. “I also really want people to understand that there was someone who came before that proverbial door was open to people of color and women in office. I want her to hold her rightful place in history.”
Born in Brooklyn in 1924, Chisholm received a master’s degree in childhood education from Columbia University. Her work in education fueled what would become a historic political career as Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress, and the first Black person to run for president from a major political party.
“There are a lot of young people who don’t know the name Shirley Chisholm,” said Aduba who noted that Chisholm has been “missing from the conversation” among pioneers of the women’s rights movement.
A founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Women’s Political Caucus, Chisholm championed social and political issues such as increasing spending for education, healthcare and childcare, and decreasing spending on war. She served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
After leaving Congress, Chisholm taught college courses in politics and sociology before retiring in the early 1990s. She died in 2005 at age 80.
See a clip of Mrs. America below.
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