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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Features

‘Chisholm’ tells of historic effort

By Kevin McDonough United Feature Syndicate

“Chisholm ‘72: Unbought & Unbossed” on “P.O.V.” (10 p.m., KSPS) recalls the quixotic 1972 presidential campaign of Brooklyn congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. The very first black woman to serve in Congress, Chisholm joined a crowded list of challengers to then-sitting President Richard Nixon.

Given little chance of winning, Chisholm began to outpoll some of the better-known white male candidates, including fellow New Yorker Mayor John Lindsay. The film does a good job of recalling a bygone era in presidential politics, when the Democratic field encompassed the entire political spectrum, from George McGovern on the left to Henry “Scoop” Jackson in the center to George Wallace on the right.

The film was completed before Chisholm’s death last month.

In it, the former congresswoman recalls some of the triumphs and tribulations of being a pioneer.

She wasn’t surprised that her presidential candidacy was treated with condescension by the press. When she announced her bid, Walter Cronkite reported, “A new hat, rather a bonnet, had been thrown into the ring.”

But Chisholm still seems sensitive to the lack of support from apparent friends. The male-dominated black-power movement and Congressional Black Caucus failed to endorse her.

She also didn’t attract the backing of feminists like Rep. Bella Abzug (D-N.Y.) or writer Gloria Steinem, who supported antiwar candidate George McGovern instead.

Chisholm contends that her point was to win delegates and arrive at the convention as more than just a symbol. Quoting Frederick Douglass, Chisholm reminded voters (then and now) that “power concedes nothing without demand or struggle.”

“Building the Alaska Highway” on “American Experience” (9 p.m., KSPS) recalls an audacious engineering project completed during the darkest hours of World War II. In the weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Americans on both coasts felt vulnerable to German U-boat attacks and threats of Japanese military strikes.

The vast Territory of Alaska seemed particularly underdefended.

To secure Alaska and defend America’s Northwest, the Army Corps of Engineers proposed building a 1,500 mile road through the Canadian Rockies, much of which was sub-Arctic wilderness never before explored or mapped.

“Highway” features numerous interviews with veterans of the project, who recall the race against time and the battle with the subzero temperatures.

More than a third of the soldiers assigned to build the highway were black men, serving in a segregated military. Despite official doubts about the suitability of “colored” workers, the highway was completed ahead of schedule in only eight months.

Other highlights

Parallel wives on “Trading Spouses” (8 p.m., Fox).

Things get better in Bakersfield on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: How’d They Do That?” (8 p.m., ABC).

Ray’s offhand comment to a small fry shocks many on “Everybody Loves Raymond” (9 p.m., CBS).

Jack and Heller go mole hunting on “24” (9 p.m., Fox).

Gail O’Grady, Grant Show and Chelsea Hobbs star in the cable sequel “More Sex & the Single Mom” (9 p.m., Lifetime).

Allison gets bad vibrations from a Good Samaritan on “Medium” (10 p.m., NBC).

Cult choice

A small New England town bursts at the seams with scandal and repression in the 1957 adaptation of Grace Metalious’s controversial best seller “Peyton Place” (5 p.m., Turner Classic Movies).

Series notes

Tiptoeing around a delicate matter on “Still Standing” (8 p.m., CBS) … Joe Rogan hosts “Fear Factor” (8 p.m., NBC) … Flex gets to sing with New Edition (as themselves) on “One on One” (8 p.m., UPN) … Ruthie’s first date on “7th Heaven” (8 p.m., WB).

A tattoo tussle on “Listen Up” (8:30 p.m., CBS) … Barbershop dramas on “One on One” (8:30 p.m., UPN).

Ed shakes up the staff on “Las Vegas” (9 p.m., NBC) … It comes down to four on “The Bachelorette” (9 p.m., ABC) … Joan’s hire raises eyebrows on “Girlfriends” (9 p.m., UPN) … Andy and Amanda go public on “Everwood” (9 p.m., WB) … Alan needs distraction on “Two and a Half Men” (9:30 p.m., CBS) … Louis Anderson guest-stars on “Half & Half” (9:30 p.m., UPN).

Murder checks in to a posh hotel on “CSI: Miami” (10 p.m., CBS) … Trouble arrives in small packages on “Supernanny” (10 p.m., ABC).

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