The seat of the President of the United States of America is a very coveted one and the requirements for someone to be able to qualify as a candidate are quite enormous.
Although a majority of the candidates who have had the opportunity to run for President in the United States are male, some women have also attempted breaking the barrier albeit almost always unsuccessful with majority failing to even make it out of the primaries in their respective political parties.
Though Hillary Clinton comes to mind as the candidate who could have made history by becoming the first female president of the United States had she not lost to Donald Trump in 2016, it is interesting to note that she is not the first female candidate to qualify to run for president.
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In 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman to attempt to run for U.S. presidency. and the first black woman to try to run under the Democratic Party.
But did you know another black woman was actually successful in appearing on the ballot paper for the post in 1988?
Breaking that glass ceiling and setting the pace was African-American scholar and political activist Lenora Fulani. Running on the ticket of the New Alliance Party, Fulani became the first woman and the first African American to achieve ballot access in all fifty states. She also claimed the bragging rights of amassing the most votes for president in the U.S. general elections than any other woman before her.
Born Lenora Branch in Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1950, Fulani started her college education at Hofstra University in New York. After graduating in 1971, she furthered her education at Columbia University’s Teachers College where she graduated with a master’s degree. She subsequently studied at the City University of New York (CUNY) where she earned a PhD in Developmental Psychology.
She and her former husband took the name Fulani as their surname in honour of the African tribe when they got married in West Africa.
Fulani became actively involved in mainstream politics when she became the spokesperson of the New Alliance Party (NAP). Before setting her sights on the United States presidency, she unsuccessfully ran for the position of Lieutenant Governor of New York on the ticket of the NAP in 1982.
After losing out on the U.S. presidential elections in 1988, Fulani contested in the 1990 Gubernatorial Election in New York on the ticket of the NAP and lost.
In 1992, she was once again became the NAP candidate in the U.S. presidential elections amassing 0.07% of the total votes cast.
Though the pioneering two-time female presidential candidate has been involved in a series of publicized controversies and criticisms, her remarkable aforementioned achievement cannot be underestimated.