Chisholm was the first African-American woman elected to congress in 1968, where she served as the Representative in the US House of Representatives for the 12th District of NY until 1983. She had previously been elected to the New York State Legislature.
In addition she was the first African-American to make a bid for a major party's presidential nomination. In 1972, she attempted to get the nomination of the Democratic Party, wining 152 delegates, but eventually losing the primaries to George McGovern. During her bid, she survived three attempts on her life.
After retiring from the house, she resumed a career in education, eventually retiring completely to Ormond Beach, Florida, where she died on January 1, 2005. She was buried in Buffalo, New York.