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Chisholm 72 Unbought and Unbossed
by halima radii
Friday Apr 30th, 2004 1:51 AM
Chisholm”72 Unbought and Unbossed, Directed and Produced by Shola Lynch
Interviews with: Shirley Chisholm, Amiri Baraka, Susan Brownmiller, Ronald Dellums, Barbara Lee, Bobby Seal (archival footage of young Willie Brown, Who proves to have been just as big an asshole back then!).
It is 1972; an out spoken Black woman from Brooklyn New York has decided to run for the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States. Richard Nixon has the endorsement of the Republican Party. The Vietnam War is raging out of control; American has lost its innocence and is at a crossroad. Is it right for someone to be so controversial that they split their political party and challenge conventional thinking when the stakes are so high? In 1972 Brooklyn Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm said, “Yes, yes it is”.

Chisholm’72 Unbought and Unbossed chronicles the political stir that occurred when Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American Congresswoman, ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. In our democratic governmental system, anyone who is born an America citizen and is over the age of 35 is eligible too run for the highest office of this country. Pitted against 13 candidates, all male, all White, Shirley Chisholm became the litmus test for democracy.

During this time in history many groups such as Nation Organization for Women and The Black Congressional Caucus would not publicly endorse her. Throughout this documentary we are able to see an earnest grassroots movement and democracy at work and the undemocratic way in which Chisholm and her supporters were treated by members of the Democratic Party. But this is not a “pity party” of a documentary. There are no victims in this film. Even thought the inevitable happens and we all know she does not become the president of the United States. We are able to see first hand, thorough archival footage the tenacity of her spirit and the drive of her supporters.

In a short talk she has with a class of elementary school students in her office, we see why she is so driven. She wished to pave the way for others. This is truly an uplifting and eye opening documentary. Although some of the technical aspects are slightly distracting (questionable split screens and 70s Funk music overkill) director Shola Lynch moves the documentary along with an energetic pace and makes us feel as if we right along side Shirley Chisholm and her charismatic campaign. Chisholm’s story is truly inspiring and troubling. More than 30 years later America is still at that crossroad, the players are different but the story is the same.

Chisholm”72 Unbought and Unbossed is Shola Lynch’s directorial debut.

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