Chisholm 50 Sisters to Watch

In January, Americans across the country began seeing more Black women representing their interests on the national, state and local levels. These women—many newly elected or moving into higher office—are stepping into leadership at a time when our country is embroiled in troubling, frequently violent conflicts over national identity, civil and human rights, income inequality and opportunities. Still, they have boldly stepped off the sidelines in response to these challenges, and in doing so, they are walking in the leadership legacy of Shirley Chisholm, a true maverick who 50 years ago was sworn in, becoming the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

Chisholm also entered office at a moment when our country was challenged by divisive ideologies and policies, but she refused to let these divisions detour her work to enact progressive policies that ensure civil and human rights and opportunities for all Americans. So, in honor of Chisholm’s legacy, Higher Heights is proud to present the Chisholm 50 Sisters to Watch List—a roundup highlighting 50 Black women whose elected leadership will help shape and advance America’s political agenda over the next two years. Here’s why they are sisters to watch.

Women of the CBC Profile Picture

From one female member in 1971 (Chisholm) to 25 today, the women of the CBC are claiming Black women’s long-over due seats at decision-making tables. They now make up nearly half the CBC membership & several are leading House committees and subcommittees. #BlackWomenLead #Chisholm50

Kamala Harris Profile Picture

Rumors of a possible presidential run started almost as soon as Kamala Harris joined the U.S. Senate in 2016. She recently succeeded in getting the Senate to pass an antilynching bill—an effort that failed 200 previous attempts. #BlackWomenLead #Chisholm50

Maxine Waters Profile Picture

One of the most influential & powerful House Democrats, Maxine Waters currently chairs the House Financial Services Committee. Presidential accountability and preventing dismantlement of the Consumer Protection Agency are her top priorities. #BlackWomenLead #Chisholm50

Barbara Lee Profile Picture

A 20-year congressional veteran, Barbara Lee was recently appointed to co-chair the House Steering & Policy Committee, which gives her power to shape House Democrat’s agenda & investigations. Check her out on #BlackWomenLead #Chisholm50

Karen Bass Profile Picture

Karen Bass chairs the largest Congressional Black Caucus in history, & with five members chairing House committees, she’s positioned to elevate Black voters’ concerns & rally the Congressional Black Caucus in support or opposition to bills coming out of these committees. #BlackWomenLead #Chisholm50

Jahana Hayes Profile Picture

Jahana Hayes was a teen mother who used education as a route out of poverty. As a legislator, she’s a strong voice for students, educational equity & under-resourced families. She received the 2016 National Teacher of the Year Award. #BlackWomenLead #Chisholm50

2021 #BlackWomenLead Reading List

In time for summer reading, Higher Heights is proud to present our #BlackWomenLead Summer Reading list.

This year’s list is filled with a variety of subjects from a group of talented Black women authors. Whether your tastes are fiction, politics, or memoirs, this year’s list is sure to provide you with a plethora of options. 

The authors on this list come from all walks of life and have perfectly infused their experiences into books that have already appeared on several bestseller lists. 

As you sit back and enjoy your summer, make sure you find time to relax with a good book from our list.