Born on August 7, 1903 or '04 in Detroit, Ralph Bunche excelled at academics to become a professor and federal officer specializing in international work. He joined the United Nations in 1947 and oversaw a heralded armistice in the Arab-Israeli conflict. He was awarded the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize and later oversaw peacekeeping efforts in the Congo, Cyprus and Bahrain. He died on December 9, 1971.
…One of Bunche's major achievements was his efforts from 1947 to 1949 to bring peace to the region of Palestine, the site of major conflict between Arab and Israeli forces. After his supervisor, mediator Count Folke Bernadotte, was killed in a terrorist attack, Bunche was called upon to helm the talks on the island of Rhodes. The long negotiation process was defined by the diplomat's willingness to meet with both sides and be meticulous, calm and patient about getting parties to sit with each other and get used to signing off on smaller matters. The Armistice Agreements were signed in 1949. Bunche won the Nobel Peace Prize the following year, becoming the first African American and person of color in the world to receive the award. Though President Harry Truman subsequently wished for Bunche to become the U.S. assistant secretary of state, Bunche turned down the offer, citing the segregationist policies that still ruled the nation's capital and saying he did not want to subject his children to them.
More here. (Note: One post throughout February will be dedicated to Black History Month.)