After watching the Chisholm ’72 DVD I am astonished so little was said about Shirley Chisholm during the 2008 campaign. Obama was the Democratic nominee; Shirley Chisholm was the first Black candidate for the American presidency. Obama’s parents were from another country; Chisholm’s parents were born in another country. Chisholm’s candidacy created great interest on college campuses; Obama’s …. You get the point.
Considering the usual laziness of American journalists and the American media, you would think such an easy series of historical parallels between Shirley Chisholm and Obama would have been used ad nauseam. The reason the stories were not connected is probably because not one American journalist watched the documentary Chisholm ’72 Unbought and Unbossed. Had one done so, all of them would have used the story.
Chisholm 72 is a well-made low budget documentary DVD. Director Shola Lynch has access to friends and family of the late Congresswoman and Presidential candidate as well as many family pictures and so on. There is also a good but not overwhelming use of archival TV footage. The most interesting is, of course, interview footage with Chisholm herself. The analysis of the situation is also excellent.
This DVD is an excellent documentary that captures the importance of the moment very well. It is odd the story sometimes fails to really grab the viewer’s attention only thirty or so years later. It may be that because there is now a Black American President, the story of a Black woman running for the position loses some of its originality and importance. Consequently, Chisholm ’72 is most interesting when it focuses on the fact Chisholm was a woman candidate.
Chisholm ’72 is part of a recent Sony Pictures releases of DVDsabout important people in (Black) American history. Other titles include The Jackie Robinson Story, the made for TV movie King with Paul Winfield and Cicely Tyson, and Muhammad Ali aka Cassius Clay.