Ralph J. Bunche Park in Council District 5 will be receiving a series of capital improvements over the next several months, kicking off with a groundbreaking ceremony at 1 p.m. April 13.
Improvements include trails, a group shelter, benches, picnic tables and security lighting. Additionally, Texas Health Resources and the Blue Zones Project Fort Worth donated a combined $86,768 to purchase and install playground and fitness equipment at Bunche Park, including a specially-designed set of low-medium-high degree exercise units for children and seniors.
Funding for these improvements will come from a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant, as well as $40,516 from the 2004 Bond Program.
Located at 5600 Ramey Ave., Bunche Park was developed in the early 1950s at a time when Fort Worth’s neighborhoods and parks were still segregated by race. The land was originally acquired by the city to serve the area south of Carver Heights, a suburb where many members of Fort Worth’s upwardly mobile African American community resided.
At the suggestion of the Rosedale Park Civic League, the park board authorized naming the park after Ralph Bunche in May 1954. Bunche was the first African American to be a division head in the U.S. State Department, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 for his work as the principal secretary of the United Nations Palestine Commission.
About Ralph J. Bunche
Bunche graduated as valedictorian of his class at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1927, where he supported his studies thanks to an athletics scholarship and a janitorial job. He received a scholarship to Harvard, completing his master’s degree in political science and receiving his doctorate in 1934 with numerous distinctions.
Bunche maintained strong ties to education throughout his career, teaching at both Howard University (where he served as chair of the Political Science Department) and Harvard University. He was also a member of the New York City Board of Education and served as a trustee of several schools.
During his political career, Bunche was a member of the Black Cabinet, consulted on minority issues for Roosevelt’s administration, and declined President Truman’s offer of the position of assistant secretary of state because of the segregated housing conditions in Washington, D.C. He also helped lead the 1965 civil rights march organized by Martin Luther King Jr. in Montgomery, Ala., and served as an advisor to the Department of State and to the military on Africa and colonial areas of strategic importance during World War II.
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