September 22, 1950: Dr. Ralph Bunche Makes History

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Dr. Bunche was selected for the Nobel Peace Prize Award for his work in the late 1940s in assisting in the mediation in Palestine. This would make him the 1st African-American and the 1st American of color to receive such an honor.

He released a statement: 

“I  have just received from Oslo a cable signed by Messrs. Gunnar Jahn and August Sochou informing me that the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament has today awarded to me the Nobel Peace Prize for 1949.

Needless to say I receive this news with deep humility for I more than anyone recognise the extent to which my peace efforts in the New East flowed from the strength of the United Nations.

I was in Palestine as an official of the United Nations, whose basic objective is world peace. For five months I was the chief assistant of Count Folke Bernadotte, the great and courageous man who gave his life in the determined effort to bring peace to Palestine. It was Count Bernadotte who achieved the first truce in Palestine, and thereby laid the essential foundations for the armistice agreements. In all of my effort I was strongly backed by the Security Council of the United Nations. Moreover, I had constantly the indispensable and invaluable support of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Trygve Lie, and his office. 

In a very real sense, the task performed in Palestine was a co-operative achievement, carried out by a highly competent team of more than 700 military observers and international civil servants of many nationalities. At this moment I cannot forget that Count Bernadotte and ten other members of our team gave their lives in the effort to restore peace to Palestine.

In these crucial times when the future of all mankind hangs fatefully in the balance it is a high privilege to be associated with the work of the United Nations, man’s sole hope for peace.

I shall be inspired by this award to continue my efforts in the great cause of world peace.”

10 Comments

  • Maurice Eldridge September 23, 2016 - 11:52 am Reply

    I was nine years old when Dr. Bunche received the prize; he was my hero and for a long time I thought I would seek a career in international diplomacy. I continue to admire him today and the contribution he made to world peace (always fragile) and to the aspirations of young black children growing up in the then legally segregated United States.

  • Michael September 23, 2016 - 3:25 pm Reply

    We are the Hebrew lol so funny

  • Nelson White September 23, 2016 - 3:41 pm Reply

    In retrospect, I now believe that the establishment of the Jewish state was a big mistake and an imposition on the Palestinian people who had occupied the land for centuries. Essentially the Palestinians had to pay for German atrocities and European guilt. Not fair, and the region has been in turmoil ever since with no end in sight. Religious states go against American ideals. It should be one man, one vote over there. It was a big deal for a black man black then, but it still wasn’t right.

  • Spring Meekins September 24, 2016 - 1:54 pm Reply

    I’m truly amazed about this article that I happen to come across while I was on my phone looking for something interesting to read about.As I began to read this article pertaining to a legendary man such as Dr.Ralph Bunche,as I continued to further reading this article I was overcome with shock as well as disbelief? First the shock of finding out that a man with such credentials as Dr.R.Bunche played such a significant role as well as a significant part in pertaining a position within the United Nations to offer his input concerning the fate of Palestine country. Not only did he step up to the plate to offer his objectives as well as offer his solution to what could be done to restore order for the people of Palestine. Not only did Dr.Ralph Bunche have to total support from the United Nations but he also had total backing of the security of the United Nations as well during those 5 months that he was appointed to help offer solutions for peace to the country of Palestine. I’m also in disbelief because when I was in school the teachers never taught us anything about Black History such as this story And many other the Black History Legends and their stories of achievements,Noble Awards’,and other accomplishments.

  • Erick Tippett September 23, 2017 - 1:08 am Reply

    Bunche was an excellent scholar and diplomat whose intentions were admirable and highly sincere. However,
    as Dr. King before his murder lamented how he feared he had led his people into a burning house and became increasingly militant in his speech, Bunche was the vehicle for what Secretary of State George Marshall warned
    Harry Truman of (and threatened to resign and vote against Truman in the coming election if he supported the
    establishment of a modern ‘Jewish state’):

    “CONFLICT WITHOUT END”!

    His words were more than prophetic!

    Erick Dean Tippett
    Retired Musician/Teacher
    Chicago, Illinois

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