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An Oscar first in 1951: African American diplomat Ralph Bunche presents an award

Ralph Bunche, who was the first African American to win the Nobel Peace Prize and one of the founders of the United Nations, presented the best picture Academy Award at the 23rd Oscar ceremony on March 29, 1951, at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. He was the first African American to be a presenter on the Academy Awards.

"It is imperative to our way of life that this great medium be kept fully free," he told the star-studded crowd before presenting the award to producer Darryl F. Zanuck for "All About Eve."

"In our society, freedom always must be accompanied by sober responsibilities and obligations," he told the crowd.

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