Black in the Day…A Nobel Diplomat

September 22, 1950:

On this day Ralph Bunche became the first Black person to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation efforts in the Middle East. He was responsible for negotiating the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and four Arab states. Bunche worked tirelessly for the United Nations for 25 mediating in other strife-torn regions, including the CongoYemenKashmir, and Cyprus.

But he didn’t just serve other nations. He dutifully served his own nation and his own people. Throughout his life, Bunche worked to improve race relations and further the cause of civil rights.  Prominently involved in social activism by the 1930s, Ralph Bunche was among the group of African-American intellectuals coined the “Young Turks” by W.E.B. Du Bois. His integrationist beliefs were adopted by Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders in the 1950s. Bunche later joined King for the 1963 March on Washington and the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March. He also served on the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for more than two decades earning its highest honor, the Spingarn Medal, in 1949. Ralph Bunche died December 9, 1971, at age 68, from complications of diabetes mellitus.

Throughout his life and illustrious career, Bunche received numerous accolades and honors celebrating his work and achievements.

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