Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) is wearing pearls that belonged to Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress, ahead of the inauguration where Kamala D. Harris will be sworn in as the first woman, Black woman and South Asian woman to be vice president.
“Her goddaughter told me she knew Shirley would want me to wear these pearls today,” Lee said in an interview with MSNBC. “And really because of Shirley Chisholm, I am, and because of Shirley Chisholm, Kamala is.”
Chisholm in 1972 also became the first woman and first African American to run for a major political party’s presidential ticket.
Lee had endorsed Harris’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“I am just feeling Shirley Chisolm’s happiness and spirit,” Lee added. “This is long overdue but here, about 50 years after she was elected and ran for the presidency, this time has finally come, she paved the way for all of us.”
Former Missouri Democratic senator Claire McCaskill also said on MSNBC that some women in the Senate will be wearing pearls in solidarity with Harris.