Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

GLOSSARY OF PEOPLE, TERMS AND EVENTS

Count Folke Bernadotte (1895-1948), a Swedish diplomat, was the UN's chief mediator in the Arab-Israeli dispute after the Partition of Palestine and the outbreak of the first Arab-Israeli War in 1948. He was assassinated in Jerusalem by Jewish militants as he and Ralph Bunche prepared to take a series of proposals, including one to establish Jerusalem as an Arab city, to the UN General Assembly.

Stokely Carmichael (1941-1998) preached Black power, separation of the races and violence to end racist practices in the United States, after beginning his crusade with non- violent protests and voter registration drives. His radical ideas made him a symbol to those African Americans who felt that drastic action was necessary to advance civil rights.

Chapter XI of the UN Charter titled "Declaration Regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories" established the principles for administrating the trust territories, 11 colonies and regions of the world that did not have independent governments and came under the protection of the United Nations after World War II.

Chapter XII of the UN Charter established the "International Trusteeship System" to monitor territories known as "trust" territories. Those territories were formerly administered under Mandates from the League of Nations, or were separated from countries defeated in the Second World War, or were voluntarily placed under the system by States responsible for their administration. Eleven Territories were placed under this system. The basic objective of the System was to promote the political, economic and social advancement of the territories and their development towards self-government and self-determination. It also encouraged respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and recognition of the interdependence of peoples of the world. The council monitored the move to self-government in the trust territories until 1994 when it ceased active operation.

Cold War refers to a period of political, economic and ideological conflict between East-particularly the USSR and the People's Republic of China-and West-mainly the Unites States and Western Europe. During four decades between the late 1940's and the late 1980's, the superpowers vied for influence over the so-called Third World. Although armed conflict did erupt in Korea, the Middle East and Viet Nam, the conflict was limited and the superpowers avoided facing each other directly on the battlefield. One key feature of the Cold War was the nuclear arms race. The Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989.

Colonialism and imperialism refer to a system whereby more powerful and industrialized nations control, by force or other means, weaker regions for the benefit of the dominant power. After World War II one of the great challenges facing the Allies involved determining the future of vast colonial possessions. Competition for control of the natural resources in these areas had been a major source of conflict among the industrialized nations.

Congo or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as the country is known today, fell into chaos immediately after it gained independence from Belgium in 1960. Called the Belgian Congo before independence and Republic of Zaire from 1971 to 1997, it is one of the world's richest and largest countries. With continuing unrest and poverty, the current plight of the country symbolizes the challenge of overcoming colonial heritage and tribal conflicts in underdeveloped areas where borders have been determined by foreign rulers.

Arthur P. Davis (1904-1996) was an educator and literary critic analyzing the great body of African-American literature written in the 20th century. He produced a large body of critical essays and other writings from the 1930s through the 1980s when he retired as professor emeritus from Howard University.

John P. Davis (1905-1973) was an advocate of Negro rights who fought for economic parity for Black Americans under the new deal. A founder of the National Negro Congress, he later embraced Communism and the organization declined–being dissolved in 1948. Afterward he became a businessman, magazine publisher and editor of scholarly publications.

E. Franklin Frazier (1894-1962) excelled in a long career as a sociologist and professor at Fisk, Atlanta and Howard Universities. His numerous publications on the state of the Negro family in the United States conveyed positive images of African-American families as hard workers, entrepreneurs and quiet contributors to society. Often criticized for radical views, his philosophy was mild, compared to later Black nationalists and Black power advocates.

W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963) was a prominent Black academic and sociologist who urged educated Negroes, the "talented tenth," to take up the cause of freedom and equality. A founder of the National Association of Colored People, he later supported Black separatism. In the face of continuing racism in the United States, he embraced more and more radical views, renounced his citizenship and moved to Ghana where he died.

International Organizations Employees Loyalty Board was created by executive order in 1953 to investigate potential employees of international organizations, such as the UN, to determine if individuals were or might be engaged in espionage or subversive activities against the United States. During the McCarthy era investigators abused their power in the heat of the "red scare" of the 1950s.

League of Nations was formed after World War I to try to prevent future wars between nations and "make the world safe for democracy." The United States never joined the organization and it lost all credibility as the world moved toward World War II.

Trygve Lie (1896-1968), a Norwegian statesman, served as first Secretary-General of the UN from 1946 to 1952. Accused by the USSR of showing favor to the West, he was forced to resign his post 1952.

Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961), a Swedish government official and economist, was Secretary-General of the UN from 1953 to 1961. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize posthumously after he was killed on a peace mission to the Congo.

Haile Selassie (1891-1975) was the emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1936 when he was deposed by Italian invaders. Ethiopia was the last truly independent nation in Africa and its conquest by Fascist Italy was a precursor to World War II. Restored to power in 1941, Selassie ruled until 1973 when he was ousted due to growing unrest in Ethiopia.

Howard University is the nation's largest historically black university. Initially conceived by the First Congregational Society of Washington, DC, it was chartered by Congress in 1867. During the 1930s, as a haven for Black intellectuals, it provided a pulpit to many voices -- some of them radical -- calling for civil rights reform and racial justice and provided an environment nurturing cutting-edge medical and scientific research.

Katanga Province is a rich and large area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After the country gained independence in 1960, the province, under the leadership of Moise Tshombe, tried to secede from the new government. Bloody conflict erupted, but the secession effort failed.

Korean War broke out in 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea south of the 38th parallel. The invasion set off the first major conflict of the Cold War as Communist forces joined the fighting. UN troops under the command of General Douglas MacArthur pushed the invaders out of South Korea and an armistice was signed in 1953.

Patrice Lumumba (1925-1961) became first premier of the newly independent Republic of the Congo, formerly known as the Belgian Congo. Lumumba faced civil unrest throughout the country as warring tribes fought for independence and the great powers vied for power to gain access to the country’s rich resources. He was deposed, arrested and assassinated in September 1961.

March on Washington in 1963 was one of the largest demonstrations in support of civil rights and justice for African Americans and other minorities. Led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the gathering at the Lincoln Memorial of over 250,000 civil rights activists and ordinary citizens made clear the pressing need for legislation to overcome discrimination and make the law serve all people equally. Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech became the rallying cry in the struggle for civil rights.

Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957) led a vocal and highly publicized hunt for Communists in the early 1950's, during the height of the Cold War. His innuendo and unproved accusations ruined many careers and brought into question the durability of due process and civil rights laws of the United States. The Senate censored McCarthy in 1954.

Gamel Abdul Nasser (1918-1970) became President of Egypt in 1954, when King Faruk was deposed by a group of military officers. He was immensely popular in Egypt and throughout the Arab world. His actions in nationalizing the Suez Canal brought the world to the brink of war, but the UN was able to end the hostilities through an armistice and sent peacekeeping forces to the area to insure implementation of the terms of the armistice.

National Negro Congress, a new political organization, was formed in 1936 by leading African-American intellectuals, including Ralph Bunche. With the goal of establishing a new agenda for Black civil rights and economic empowerment, the organization broke new ground searching for ways to collaborate with white labor unions and progressive groups to advance the mutual interests of working class Blacks and whites in the social, political and economic areas of American life.

New Deal proposed by President Franklin Roosevelt was a plan intended to bring economic relief, recovery and reform to the country, which was suffering from the effects of the Great Depression. The emphasis was on making government more responsive to the needs of the common people. Using activist government, the New Deal launched new programs providing jobs and reviving the economy. Many African Americans of the day felt left out because the new programs failed to address effectively the racism and job discrimination that had unfairly added to the economic woes of the community.

Nobel Peace Prize was established in 1897 by the will of Alfred Nobel, a wealthy Norwegian inventor and industrialist. According to the terms of the will, the prize was to be given"... to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." Usually awarded annually, the winner receives a medal and a cash award. In 1950 Ralph Bunche, for his work on the Palestinian question and the Arab-Israeli conflict, became the first person of color in the world to win the prize.

Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was established by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941 as an intelligence gathering and propaganda organization to prepare for America's entry into the war. It was staffed by academics and specialists on different parts of the world. OSS was the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Partition of Palestine was the plan, narrowly adopted in 1947 by the UN General Assembly, that proposed dividing Palestine into two politically independent states with an economic union in an effort to end land disputes between the Arabs and Jews. It ultimately led to the creation of the state of Israel and set the stage for the enduring hostilities between the Arabs and Israelis in the Middle East.

"Passed over" or "passing" refers usually in the United States to a light skinned Black person assuming a white identity. While used by other cultures and ethnic groups, "passing over" in African-American culture occurred during slavery and after the Civil War until the mid-twentieth century as individuals chose to forsake their race and family to become white in an effort to escape widespread prejudice and discrimination. Some considered those who passed traitors to their race. Others were sympathetic because of the burden that African Americans were forced to bear in a racist society.

Peacemaking or bringing hostile parties together to resolve conflict without warfare is one of the most important roles that the UN plays in maintaining world peace and security. Through the use of diplomacy, mediation, arbitration and other conflict resolution techniques, a neutral third party such as the UN helps the contentious parties arrive at a peaceful resolution of their differences.

Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the UN Secretariat, the body responsible for carrying out the substantive and administrative work of the organization as directed by the General Assembly, the Security Council and other organs. Today, the Secretary-General oversees a staff of approximately 8,900 employees drawn from 160 countries and stationed in New York, Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi.

San Francisco Conference, or, more formally, the United Nations Conference on International Organization, (April 25-June26, 1945), drew up the Charter of the United Nations that spelled out the mission, purposes and structure of the new body. The UN officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and a majority of the other 51 signatories. United Nations Day is celebrated on 24 October each year.

Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March (March 7-March 15, 1965), led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., included many civil rights activists like Ralph Bunche and others who wanted to focus attention on the denial of voting rights to African Americans. Television gave the nation a picture of the violence inflicted on the marchers by state and local police in the first attempt to reach Montgomery. A second attempt several days later was completed under the protection of federal troops. In response, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which was signed by President Lyndon Baines Johnson on August 6, 1965.

Suez Crisis started in 1956 when Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal. Shortly thereafter Israel, supported by France and Great Britain, invaded the Sinai Peninsula. Special peacekeeping forces, from neutral member nations, under UN command, brought an end to the hostilities. It was the first time such forces, which have become an established part of international peacekeeping, were used.

"Talented tenth" was a term coined by W. E. B. Du Bois to describe the small percentage of educated and upper middle class Negroes who were high achievers in the face of racial prejudice. The Harlem Renaissance, 1917-1936, is considered to have been a manifestation of the power of this small group to impact the entire community.

U Thant (1909-1974), Burnese diplomat and delegate to the UN, served as Secretary-General of the UN from 1961-1971. During his tenure he was active in peacekeeping activities.

Trust Territories were colonial territories placed under a UN trusteeship at the end of World War II. They were largely former League of Nations mandated territories and areas that belonged to the defeated Axis powers. Chapter XII of the UN Charter, drafted by Ralph Bunche, provided the framework for overseeing the administration of these areas, with the ultimate goal of self-government or independence. The last of the Trust Territories, Palau, became independent in 1994.

United Nations, comprising of 189 countries at the end of 2000, was established in 1945 at the end of World War II by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. The original Charter of the United Nations -- an international treaty designed to protect future generations from the scourge of war and written to affirm fundamental human rights -- as amended governs all activities. The 15-member Security Council and the Secretariat headed by the Secretary-General oversee the day-to-day operation, including meetings of the General Assembly. Ralph Bunche played a key role in drafting the Charter of the UN and carrying out its mission of peace.

Peacekeeping has been one of the United Nations major contributions to world peace. Most operations involve military duties, such as observing a cease-fire or establishing a buffer zone while negotiators seek a long-term solution. Other approaches may use civilian police or incorporate civilian personnel to organize elections or monitor human rights. Peacekeeping operations may last for a few months or continue for many years. Since the UN deployed its first military observers in 1948, some 118 countries have voluntarily provided more than 750,000 military and civilian police personnel. They have served, along with thousands of civilians, in 54 peacekeeping operations. As of December 2000, some 35,400 military and civilian police personnel are deployed in 15 operations.

UN Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) was created in 1947 by the General Assembly to propose a solution to the Palestine problem. The majority report recommended the formation of two politically independent states with an economic union. This plan was approved by the General Assembly by a narrow majority over the objection of the Arab and Muslim states.

Sir Brian Urquhart (1919- ) was one of the first United Nations civil servants. A member of the UN Secretariat from 1945 until his retirement in 1986, he worked closely with Ralph Bunche and the first five Secretaries-General on peace and security matters, especially peacekeeping. In 1972, he succeeded Ralph Bunche as Under Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs. His books include Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey, the biography on which the film is based.

Home | Early Influences | Scholar-Activist | Drive to Decolonize | Mr. UN
The Peacemaker | Man & the Myth | Timeline | Educational Resources
Making the Movie | Site Credits