04.11.04 – 07.04.04
He was modest but tough, brilliant but unassuming, tireless but compassionate, brilliant but understanding, and he gained a position and a reputation in the world at large that any man might well envy. Even those who disagreed with him, held him in the highest respect. Even those who opposed him, never lost faith in his absolute fairness and integrity. And no one could doubt that beneath his extraordinary ability and performance was a driving passion for peace, for justice and for human decency and dignity.
—– U Thant, United Nations Secretary General, 1971
Funeral address for Ralph Bunche
From 1946 to 1950, the building now housing the Museum was the home of the United Nations General Assembly and no single UN figure accomplished more in that short time than 1950 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Under-Secretary-General and Queens resident Ralph Bunche. Ralph Bunche: Diplomat for Peace and Justice presents the life and numerous contributions of this extraordinary man through documentary photographs, important writings and artifacts from both his personal and professional lives. Film footage and works of contemporary and historical art addressing the three issues that dominated his efforts as both a statesman and a human being– race relations, decolonization, and peace in the Middle East, provide a fuller understanding of the impact Bunche had on the world.
Using a didactic timeline to lead a journey of discovery through the civil rights movement, the partition of Palestine and decolonization or self governing or independence efforts throughout Africa, the exhibition not only illustrates why bunche’s work was so important at the time but also demonstrates why the work he did remains relevant today.
Ralph Bunche: Diplomat for Peace and Justice is made possible by the National Cummings Foundation, the New York Council on the Humanities and Con Edison. Additional support for the emerging artist projects was provided by the Lily Auchindoss Foundation, the Greenwall Foundation, American Center Foundation and the Cowles Charitable Trust.
Special thanks to the Depart of Special Collections, University of California Los Angeles, the United Nations, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, City University of New York, Graduate Center.
Curated by Frank Sirmans
— Ralph Bunche
— Archibald Motley
— Augusta Savage
— Charles White
— Elizabeth Catlett
Ralph Bunche: Diplomat for Peace and Justice is made possible by The Nathan Cummings Foundation, the New York Council on the Humanities and Con Edison. Additional support for the emerging artist projects was provided by The Lily Auchincloss Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, American Center Foundation and the Cowles Charitable Trust. Special thanks to The Department of Special Collections, University of California, Los Angeles; The United Nations, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and The Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, City University of New York, Graduate Center The Media Sponsors of the exhibition are WCBS Channel 2 and the Amsterdam News. Pool table and accessories provided by Blatt Bowling & Billiard Corporation.
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