a seat at the table

An exhibit inspired by Congresswoman
Shirley Chisholm’s words and work toward
creating a more inclusive democracy.

a seat at the table

The exhibit shares how Congresswoman Chisholm stepped up, claimed her seat at the table of public discourse, and made a difference by representing a wide range of people and issues.

The trailblazing Congresswoman once said, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair” — a phrase that has since served as a mantra and rallying cry for many Americans.

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

- Shirley Chisholm

ABOUT THE EXHIBIT

OCTOBER 2018

The first phase of the “A Seat at the Table” exhibit opened. It was inspired by Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s words and work toward creating a more inclusive democracy. Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman elected to Congress in 1968. Four years later, she became the first black woman candidate to run for the presidential nomination of a major party and the first woman to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination.

The exhibit shares how Congresswoman Chisholm stepped up, claimed her seat at the table of public discourse, and made a difference by representing a wide range of people and issues, and it was made possible with the generous support of the Fund II Foundation.

APRIL 2019

In the second phase, the exhibit began featuring chairs that were created by community groups and individuals during Institute-hosted workshops at schools, community organizations, libraries, and social justice offices. The chair-makers creatively show their thoughts on identity, values, and the social issues that need to be addressed at inclusive tables of power. To showcase as many chairs as possible, the Institute rotated featured chairs throughout 2019.

JUNE 2019

The last phase of the “A Seat at the Table” physical exhibit opened on June 12, 2019. The exhibit evolved to include twenty artist-created chairs that represented the stories of both historic and contemporary trailblazers who found their own seats at the table.

Make a chair

Do you, your classroom, or your group want to make your own chair? We have many resources that lead you through the activity!

And don’t forget to come back to submit photos of your chair for a chance to be featured on the website.

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Made possible by

The “A Seat at the Table” exhibit was made possible by the generous support of the Fund II Foundation.

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