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African-Americans Who Ran for President

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African-American Biographies

Barack Obama is not the first African-American to run for President. That honor belongs to a woman, actually.

Shirley Chisholm of New York was the first African-American woman elected to Congress, in 1968. Four years later, she declared her candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination for President. Chisholm's campaign was symbolic and short-lived.

Jesse Jackson, a civil rights and minister in the Baptist Church, ran for President twice, in 1984 and 1988. Before Obama, Jackson was the African-American candidate who achieved the most support. Jackson was hugely popular in 1988, winning many of the Democratic Party primary elections before ceding the nomination to Michael Dukakis.

Also running in 1988 was Lenora Fulani, a psychologist and social activist. Fulani ran as an Independent and bettered Chisholm's efforts by getting her name on the presidential ballot in all 50 states.

The first African-American woman elected to the Senate, Illinois' Carol Moseley Braun, ran for President in 2004. Her campaign was short-lived as well.

So far the only African-American to run for President in the Republican Party is Alan Keyes, a former diplomat who campaigned in 1996 and 2000. (Coincidentally, he was a late replacement candidate for the U.S. Senate from Illinois in 2004. His opponent: Barack Obama.)

Another minister, Al Sharpton, ran for President in 2004, in the Democratic Party.







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