The 1950 Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Ralph Bunche, professor at Harvard University, director for the United Nations Supervisory Department and broker in the Palestinian Conflict 1948. Ralph Bunche received the award from the Director of the Nobel Institute, Gunnar Jahn, chairman of the Nobel Committee, during the ceremony. Credit: NTB via Alamy Stock Photos

August 7, 1904: Diplomat Ralph Bunche was born in Detroit. He was a member of the “Black Cabinet,” a group of minority leaders who President Franklin D. Roosevelt consulted on minority issues. 

After heading the Howard University Political Science Department, he worked for the federal government in different capacities including the State Department. In 1946, Bunche went to the United Nations and served as its mediator on Palestine. After negotiating the 1948 armistice agreements between Israel and the Arab states, he returned home to receive a ticket-tape parade on Broadway. In 1950, he received the Nobel Peace Prize, the first African American to get the award.

Bunche took part in the Civil Rights Movement for decades. He served on the NAACP board of directors, and participated in the 1963 March on Washington and the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. 

“To make our way, we must have firm resolve, persistence, tenacity,” he said. “We must gear ourselves to work hard all the way. We can never let up.”

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