10 groundbreaking Black politicians you've probably never heard of

Most people know about the 13th Amendment and the Civil Rights Movement, but what about the individuals who won smaller, but vital, victories for representation along the way?

THE FIRST COLORED SENATOR AND REPRESENTATIVES
THE FIRST COLORED SENATOR AND REPRESENTATIVES / Historical/GettyImages
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Lenora Fulani At All Stars Project Lincoln Center Charity Gala
Lenora Fulani At All Stars Project Lincoln Center Charity Gala / Donald Bowers/GettyImages

Lenora Fulani

While Shirley Chisholm attempted to rise in the government as a Democrat, Lenora Fulani has done a lot of work toward expanding the rights of third parties. Particularly in a time when the two parties are so divided, it's important to acknowledge Fulani's contributions toward making a more diverse political field.

Fulani was born in Pennsylvania in 1950, which meant that she was growing up and becoming a young woman during the Civil Rights Movement. She earned a master's degree in education from Columbia University and a PhD in developmental psychology from the City University of New York.

She worked alongside Fred Newman to found the All Stars Project, a program that helps build community and education opportunities for those facing racial, social, or economic barriers from a young age.

Her political career has been largely unsuccessful, but it has given her the opportunity to build new opportunities for those who follow her lead. She ran for lieutenant governor of New York in 1982, mayor of New York City in 1985, and governor of New York in 1986, 1990, and 1994, all of which she did under the New Alliance Party.

In 1988, Fulani ran for President. While she only earned 0.24% of the popular vote, she became the first woman and the first Black person to be on the ballot in all 50 states. This is a triumph few third party candidates can claim, even today.


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