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

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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 the 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

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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

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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?


Tex­an by birth, Los Ange­leno by sit­u­a­tion. Lover of Tame Impala and Shoegaze music. Come­di­an by trade. Mac­a­roni and Cheese con­nois­seur by appetite.

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7 Comments on "Black Herstory: 11 Black Women Who Ran for President of the United States"

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[…] Nev­er­the­less, this is a moment that Shirley Chisholm, who made his­to­ry as the first African-Amer­i­can woman elect­ed to Con­gress in 1968, laid down the foun­da­tion for when she ran for pres­i­dent in 1972. Chisholm also cre­at­ed a foun­da­tion for Barack Obama’s elec­tion in 2008. How­ev­er, the moment that she worked for hasn’t come yet. A Black woman has not yet made it as far as Hillary in an elec­tion, despite the fact that many have tried. […]


[…] Der Artikel ist zwar bere­its aus dem let­zten Jahr, aber trotz­dem eine gute kleine Geschichtsstunde: Black­Girl­Long­Hair stellt elf Schwarze Frauen vor, die ver­sucht haben US-Präsi­dentin zu wer­den. […]


There’s a typo in the Leno­ra Fulani piece — she won more than a quar­ter mil­lion votes, not a quar­ter of the vote.

Emma Quangel

FYI Mon­i­ca Moore­head is run­ning again in 2016!

Margaret Mbogoh

Where is she? Or the Media doesn’t fea­ture oth­ers less known.


Sounds like we may be see­ing Ms Lind­say again when she comes of age in 4 years.


Thank you.…I have heard of the first 4 and Cyn­thia Mckinney.…never heard of the others.….Shirley Chisholm ‘s book ‘unbought and unbossed’?was real­ly good…she felt she received more support/had to fight less with whites than from black men.….good read.…I won­der what she would think of pres.Obama.