Shirley Chisholm's birthday celebrated with hope for the future

Her goddaughter is working toward a national holiday for the congresswoman.

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  • | 4:05 p.m. December 1, 2015
  • Palm Coast Observer
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Standing in the East Room of the White House, Palm Coast resident Marya Bosley,  attended the Medal of Freedom Ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 24. She was there to witness her godmother, Shirley Chisholm, be recognized by President Barack Obama.

“When he announced her name, it was like the whole room was in awe,”  Bosley said.

Once, when asked how she would like to be remembered, Chisholm had responded, ‘I’d like them to say that Shirley Chisholm had guts.’

“President Obama said, ‘I’m proud to say it, Shirley Chisholm had guts,’” Bosley said. “To have somebody so close to you to be honored like that; it was so amazing,” she said. “The love was exuberant and so giving. We are in awe of the honor.”

On Monday, Nov. 30, Chisholm’s birthday, a celebration was held at COWORK by Office Divvy on Airport Road.  

Guest speakers included Randy Roker, film director, who met Chisholm for the first time in the early 1970s when he was helping put together the first NAACP Image Awards.

“Someone said Shirley Chisholm was going to come, but I didn’t believe it,” he said. “She told us, in a nice, but firm way – ‘you’d better do a good job.’”

Cornelia Manfre, worked as an intern in Congress while Chisholm was a congresswoman and showed a photo book each student was given of the congressmen in office. Ms. Chisholm signed the book for her when she lived in Palm Coast.

Chisholm lived in Palm Coast from 1991 to 2003, finally moving to Halifax Plantation in Ormond Beach, so she could be next door to her best friends, Bosley’s parents. Bosley was with her when she died on January 1, 2005.

"To have somebody so close to you to be honored like that; it was so amazing.” Marya Bosley, Shirley Chisholm's god daughter.

“I had just finished painting her fingernails,” she said. “My daughter asked why Aunt Shirley was crying. She had passed.”

 “It is my time, and I am carrying on my godmother’s legacy,” Bosley said. “Congresswoman Barbara Lee got her on a stamp and her picture is in the Rotunda, now it’s time for her to have a national holiday.”

Bosley knows the task won’t be easy, but said she’s up to the challenge.

“I am going to be like my godmother and have guts,” she said. “I want my granddaughter to look back one day and say, ‘my grandmother made a difference.’”


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