Remembering Dr. Ralph J. Bunche: Black Hisory Month

Ralph Bunche from UN PhotoI passed through Ralph Bunche Park at 43rd Street and First Avenue on Sunday. And it wondered me why the story of Dr. Ralph J. Bunche‘s life is not told more often.

A political scientist, academic, writer, and diplomat, Bunche took part in planning for the creation of the United Nations. He was an adviser to the U.S. delegation for the “Charter Conference” of the United Nations held in 1945. He took part in drafting the UN Charter. Along with Eleanor Roosevelt, Bunche played a key role in the creation and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In 1947, Bunche was assigned to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). He became the Principal Secretary of the UN Palestine Commissioner. He served as the Personal Representative of Secretary-General with Count Folke Bernadotte, the United Nations Mediator on Palestine. Following the assassination of Bernadotte in September 1948, Bunche became the Acting Mediator. He chaired the UN mediation efforts and is credited with the successful negotiation of four armistice agreements that helped end that conflict.

For his work, Bunche became the first African American and person of color to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. He continued to served the UN for over twenty years. His work included helping to end colonialism.

Bunche was an active and vocal supporter of the U.S. civil rights movement. He participated in the 1963 March on Washington and in the Selma to Montgomery, Alabama march, which contributed to the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 and federal enforcement of voting rights.

Dr. Ralph J. Bunche is one of so many individuals to honor – so many stories to remember – during Black History Month and always.

The photo of Dr. Ralph J. Bunche is from UN Photo.

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