This is a small sliver of a park across from United Nations Plaza, but it packs a big punch into 4/10 of an acre. It is distinguished by four monuments. Peace Form One at the north end is a 50-foot high stainless steel shaft dedicated in 1980 as an homage to Bunche. The northwest granite staircase was designed around 1948 and inscribed in 1975 with a passage from the Book of Isaiah: “they shall beat their swords into plowshares.” In 1981 the City Council named the western steps after Russian dissident Anatoly Sharansky. At the southern end of the park a commemorative plaque to civil rights crusader Bayard Rustin (1912-1987) was dedicated by former Mayor Edward I. Koch in 1990. In 1985 Mayor Koch designated Ralph Bunche Park as a peace park. Bunche received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950, the first African American to receive the award. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy awarded him the U.S. Medal of Freedom. As a U.N. mediator, secretary for special political affairs, and supervisor of peace-keeping missions in the Middle East and elsewhere, he played a key role in brokering U.N. sponsored peace agreements from 1949 to 1970. There are two stones embedded in the walkway etched with Bunche’s words: “I have a number of very strong biases. I have a deep-seated bias against hate and intolerance; I have a bias against racial and religious bigotry; I have a bias against war, a bias for peace, I have bias which leads me to believe in the essential goodness of my fellow man, which leads me to believe that no problem of human relations is ever insoluble. I have a strong bias in favor of the United Nations and its ability to maintain a peaceful world. And: “Peace, to have meaning for / many who have known only suffering / in both peace and war / must be translated into bread or rice, / shelter, health, and education, / as well as freedom and human dignity. / Nobel Peace Prize Lecture, 1950 / Ralph Johnson Bunche / Under Secretary-General for / Special Political Affairs / the United Nations / 1904 – 1971 / Daniel Larue Johnson, artist / The small stone dedicated to Bayard Rustin, Human Rights Leader reads: “The principal factors which have influenced my life are: non-violent actions; constitutional means; respect for human personality; a belief that all people are one.”


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