This Mother’s Day, May 14th, 2023 at 2:30pm, Island SPACE Caribbean Museum is bringing the story of American icon Shirley Chisholm to South Florida in their presentation of “Shirley Chisholm: Unbossed and Unbowed.” This one-woman play on the life and times of the outspoken African-American activist of Barbadian and Guyanese parentage is written and performed by actor Ingrid Griffith and will take place at the Pompano Beach Cultural Center.
“Women in this country must become revolutionaries. We must refuse to accept the old, the traditional roles and stereotypes. We must replace the old negative thoughts about our femininity with positive thoughts and positive action affirming it, and more. But we must also remember that we will be breaking with tradition, and so we must prepare ourselves educationally, economically and psychologically in order that we will be able to accept and bear with the sanctions that society will immediately impose upon us.”
~ Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Chisholm was known as the Black Joan of Arc, though she called herself “Fighting Shirley.” She was the first Black woman to run for U.S. president and the first to win a seat in the American Congress. Many know her as a heroine of African-American history, but may not know that she was also Caribbean-American.
“Unbossed and Unbowed” journeys back to Chisholm’s childhood to show how race and gender determined how far she would go in life, why she chose to fight for the disenfranchised and what it took for her to rise. Her parents arrived in the U.S. in the early 1920s. By the end of the decade came the Great Depression, and in order to make ends meet, they sent 3-year-old Shirley and her younger siblings to live with their maternal grandmother in Barbados. Chisholm’s years in Barbados reinforced her Caribbean heritage, which manifested itself in her bearing and speech patterns. Vauxhall Primary School, which Chisholm attended on the island, was named in her honor on April 4, 2023.
Chisholm’s father hailed from Guyana, the birthplace of playwright and performer Ingrid Griffith.
“I’ve been moved to write and share Shirley Chisholm’s story in the hope that more people will become aware of her contributions and appreciate how her voice resonates today,” shared Griffith. “I’m drawn to tell stories about the immigrant experience, about being an outsider and daring to be one’s self.”
To facilitate a larger audience, Island SPACE Caribbean Museum has partnered with the Pompano Beach Cultural Center, a 336-seat facility. Tickets are available starting at $25, and with group discounts available, at islandspacefl.org/mothersdayshow. Parties of 6 or more may email [email protected] for discounted rates.
The production is the final event in the Island SPACE “Women Warriors of Social Justice” exhibition and event series, produced under the generous patronage of the following funds at the Community Foundation of Broward: Mary N. Porter Community Impact Fund, Jack Belt Memorial Fund, Ginny and Tom Miller Fund, Stearns Weaver Miller Fund for the Arts, Harold D. Franks Fund.
About Island SPACE
Island Society for the Promotion of Artistic and Cultural Education (Island SPACE) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of arts, culture, history, and educational initiatives that represent the Caribbean region, in South Florida and the broader diaspora.
The public is invited to visit the museum Thursdays through Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. General museum entry is $10 per adult and $5 per child. Visit islandspacefl.org to learn more.