The first major party to nominate a woman for vice-president was the Democratic Party, in 1984. Now, in 2008, the Republican Party is also about to name a woman vice-presidential nominee.
The first major party to nominate a black for president or vice-president is the Democratic Party in 2008.
On the matter of diversity for presidential and vice-presidential nominees, the major parties are decades behind minor parties. The first minor party to name a woman for vice-president, and to actually receive valid votes, was the Prohibition Party in 1924. It named Marie Brehm for vice-president. The first minor party to name a woman for president, and to actually receive valid votes, was the Communist Party. It named Charlene Mitchell in 1968.
The first minor party to name a black for either president or vice-president, and to actually receive valid votes, was the Communist Party in 1932. It names James Ford for vice-president. The first minor party to name a black for president was the Socialist Workers Party, which nominated Clifton DeBerry in 1964.
Many have asserted that the Equal Rights Party of the late 19th century was the first minor party to set these records. But the Equal Rights Party did not actually nominate any candidates for presidential elector and then print up ballots naming those candidates for presidential elector. The party was free to do that, but did not do that. Svend Petersen, author of A Statistical History of the American Presidential Elections, meticulously went through the records of the vote for presidential electors, sent in by each state to the National Archives. He found records for minor party tickets that polled as few votes as 72 votes in the entire nation. That was the national vote total for Gerrit Smith, the 1852 presidential nominee of the Liberty Party. But he found no votes for an Equal Rights ticket in either the 1870’s or the 1880’s. Other researchers came to the same conclusion.