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Sat, 08.03.1901

Black History, and The Nobel Prize, a story

*The Nobel Prize and its awards to Africans and African Americans are a topic on this date's Registry.

The Nobel is granted annually to persons or institutions for outstanding contributions made during the previous year in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, international peace, and economic sciences.

Generally considered a most prestigious award, Nobel Prizes come from a trust fund established by Swedish chemist, inventor, and philanthropist Alfred Bernhard Nobel. As designated in Nobel's will, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards prizes for physics and chemistry; the Nobel Assembly awards prizes for physiological or medical works; the Swedish Academy awards prizes for literature; and the Norwegian Nobel Committee selects the winner of the peace prize. In 1968 a new prize for economics was established and endowed by the national bank of Sweden.

The first Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1901; it was not until 1950 that a Black person was a recipient. An African American from Detroit, Dr. Ralph J. Bunche was the first Black man to receive the distinguished prize for his work as a United Nations mediator; his efforts led to the 1949 Arab-Israeli armistice agreement.

Other remarkable Blacks have received a Nobel: Albert Camus, 1957 Literature; Albert John Luthuli, 1960 Peace Prize; Martin Luther King Jr., 1964 Peace Prize; Sir William Arthur Lewis, 1979 Economics Prize; Bishop Desmond Tutu, 1984 Peace Prize; Wole Soyinka, 1986 Literature Prize; Derek Walcott, 1992 Literature Prize; Toni Morrison, 1993 Literature Prize; Nelson Mandela, 1993 Peace Prize, Kofi Annan, 2001 Peace Prize, Wangari Maathai, 2004 and President Barack Obama in 2009.  Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee were awarded their Peace Prizes in 2011.  Denis Mukwgw, Peace 2018; Abiy Ahmed, Peace 2019; Abdulrazak Gurnah Literature, 2021.  Nobel Prize winners receive a cash award, a gold medal, and a diploma.



The African American Desk Reference
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Copyright 1999 The Stonesong Press Inc. and
The New York Public Library, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Pub.
ISBN 0-471-23924-0

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