Shirley Chisholm? Donna Brazile? Barbara Lee? Giovanni Piccolino? Apocryphal?
Question for Quote Investigator: A politician who advocated for inclusive decision-making used the following metaphorical expression to encourage activists to demand representation:
If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring in a folding chair.
This saying has been attributed to U.S. Congress member Shirley Chisholm and U.S. political strategist Donna Brazile. Would you please explore this topic?
Reply from Quote Investigator: Shirley Chisholm died in January 2005, and shortly afterward “People” magazine published a tribute to her which included a remark from Donna Brazile who credited Chisholm with the expression. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:2005 January 17, People, Tribute: Shirley Chisholm 1924-2005, A political trailblazer, she made history as the first black woman in Congress, Quote Page 108, Time Inc., New York. (EBSCO Academic … Continue reading
Democratic party activist and longtime friend Donna Brazile still recalls the advice Chisholm once gave her: “She said, ‘If you wait for a man to give you a seat, you’ll never have one! If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring in a folding chair.’”
The excerpt above contains the earliest match located by QI. This citation provides substantive support for the ascription Shirley Chisholm.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
|↑1||2005 January 17, People, Tribute: Shirley Chisholm 1924-2005, A political trailblazer, she made history as the first black woman in Congress, Quote Page 108, Time Inc., New York. (EBSCO Academic Search Elite)|