CliftonDeBerry was the Socialist Workers Party’s candidate in the 1964 election. He was the party’s first African-American candidate, as well as the first black candidate for president of any existing party. DeBerry’s running mate was Ed Shaw, a printer from Illinois.
2. Dick Gregory
Gregory unsuccessfully ran for President of the United States in 1968 as a write-in candidate of the Freedom and Peace Party. Gregory’s political team produced a counterfeit one dollar bill during his campaign. However, the majority of the bills were quickly seized by the Federal Government, as the bills resembled authentic U.S. currency enough that they worked in many dollar cashing machines at the time.
3. Elaine Brown
In March 2007, Brown announced her bid to be the 2008 Green Party presidential nominee. Brown felt that a campaign was necessary to promote the interests of those not represented by the major political parties, especially the interests of women under 30 and African Americans.
4. Rev. Jesse L. Jackson
Rev. Jesse L. Jackson became the second African American to mount a nationwide campaign for presidency. (Second to Shirley Chisholm). On November 3, 1983, Jackson announced his campaign for President of the United States in the 1984 election. He sought the Democratic Party presidential nomination again in 1988.
5. Joan Jett Blakk
In 1991, Terence Smith, a nationally-famous drag queen known as Joan Blakk, sought a political career by running against Richard M. Daley for the office of mayor of Chicago. The campaign was chronicled in the 1991 video, Drag in for Votes. Smith’s next campaign was for the presidency in 1992, under the slogan “Lick Bush in ’92.” He also later made a bid for presidency in 1996 with the slogan “Lick Slick Willie in ’96!” In each of these campaigns, Smith ran on the Queer Nation Party ticket.
6. Alan Keyes
In 1992, Alan Keyes was the first African-American candidate to run in the Republican presidential primaries. Keyes participated again, unsuccessfully, in 1996, 2000, and 2008.
7. Cynthia McKinney
McKinney was a Green Party candidate. She was the first black woman elected to represent Georgia in the House of Representatives. She left the Democratic Party and, in 2008, ran as the Presidential candidate of the Green Party of the United States.
8. Herman Cain
“Tea Party” Republican Herman Cain staged a run for the presidency in 2012. He received a brief surge of attention and popularity, but withdrew before any primaries were held.
9. Ben Carson
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson ran for the Republican nomination in the 2016 election. He surged in the polls in late 2015, but withdrew after the first Super Tuesday.
10. Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun
Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun is a politician and lawyer who represented Illinois in the United States Senate from 1993 to 1999. She was the first and, to date, the only African-American female senator, as well as the first African-American U.S. senator for the Democratic Party. She was also a candidate for the Democratic nomination during the 2004 U.S. presidential election.
11. George Edwin Taylor
George Edwin Taylor was a candidate of the National Negro Liberty Party for the office of President of the United States in 1904.
12. Rev. Al Sharpton
Rev. Al Sharpton unsuccessful campaigned for the U.S. presidency in 2004. On December 15, 2005, Sharpton agreed to repay $100,000 in public funds that he received from the federal government for his 2004 Presidential campaign. The repayment was required because Sharpton had exceeded federal limits on personal expenditures for his campaign.
13. Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American “major” party candidate for president. She was a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination and participated in the Democratic primaries in numerous states. She campaigned in 12 states and won 28 delegates.
14. Charlene Mitchell
Charlene Mitchell was the first black woman to run in the United States for president. Mitchell ran on the Communist Party ticket and received 1,075 votes from four states. She was also the first woman in history to have her name on the general election ballot.
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