Black Herstory: 11 Black Women Who Ran for President of the United States

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With election season heating up across the country, we wanted to take a moment to explore black women’s history in American presidential elections. Here are eleven phenomenal black women who made a bid for the United States presidency:

Shirley Chisholm


Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman elected to Congress in 1968. On January 25, 1972, she became the first major-party black candidate for President of the United States and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Barbara Jordan

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You might recognize her face from the United States Postal Service Black History Month commemorative Forever stamp. Barbara Jordan was the first black Senator elected to the Texas Senate after the reconstruction and the first Southern black female elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Although, Jordan did not physically campaign, she received a delegate vote after being the first black speaker for the 1976 Democratic National Convention.

Lenora Fulani


Leonora Fulani was the first woman to receive more than a quarter of the vote in the general election. She held the record for most votes received by a female candidate until Jill Stein’s 2012 campaign. Fulani was the first black independent candidate and the first female candidate to appear on the ballot in all 50 states. Fulani ran in 1988 and 1992 on the New Alliance Party ticket.

Carol Mosely-Braun


Carol Mosley-Braun campaigned for her presidential nomination in 2004 as a Democrat. Mosley-Braun raised over $627,869 which at the time was the most money raised by any woman who appeared on the Democratic primary ballot.

Isabell Masters


Isabell Masters is a legend in her own right. Masters has had her name on the presidential ballot more than any other woman in history. Masters ran as a Republican in 1988, 1992 and 1996. She ran in her own founded, Looking Back Party in 1992 and 1996. She was a write in candidate in 2000 and ran her final presidential campaign at the age of 90 in 2004 and passed away in 2011. Her husband was also a history-maker, Alfred Masters was the first African American in the United States Marine Corps when he was sworn in on June 1, 1942.

Monica Gail Moorehead


Workers World Party candidate Monica Gail Moorehead ran twice for the presidency — once in 1996 and again in 2000.

Cynthia McKinney


Barack Obama was not the only black candidate running for the presidency in 2008. Cynthia McKinney ran on the Green Party ticket in the 2008 presidential election. Fun Fact: Mckinney proposed a bill in Congress for rapper Tupac known as the Tupac Shakur Records Act in 2005 to promote the release of records related to Tupac’s death.

Angel Joy Chavis Rocker


Very little information can be found on Angel Joy Chavis Rocker. She ran for president in 2000 as a the first black female Republican from Florida and passed away 3 years later.

Charlene Mitchell


Charlene Mitchell was the first black woman to run for president of the United States in 1968. Mitchell ran on the Communist Party ticket and received 1,075 votes from four states. She was also the first woman in history to have her name on the general election ballot.

Margaret Wright


Margaret Wright ran on the People’s Party ticket in 1976.

Peta Lindsay


Peta Lindsay campaigned under the Party for Socialism and Liberation in 2011. Lindsay was disqualified due to her age which was 27 at the time. (Presidential candidates must be 35 years of age to hold office.)

We salute these women and are sure there will be many more candidates in the future.

Were you familiar with any of these candidates? Are there any other black female candidates you know of?

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