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Home | PoliticalMakers | The Honorable Doris Bunte
Color: orange
Food: fried chicken
Quote: being poor is not the result of a flaw in character
Season: spring
New York, New York
Interview Description:

Biography |

Interview Date: 10/19/2016

State representative and chief executive The Honorable Doris Bunte was born on July 2, 1933 in New York, New York. She grew up there attending New York Public Schools, but dropped out before earning her GED. In 1953 she moved to Boston, Massachusetts with her three children, and earned her GED there in 1968. She enrolled at Harvard University in 1978 and earned her B.A. and M.A. there.

In 1969 Bunte was nominated to the Boston Housing Authority board, making her the first public housing tenant to serve. She was momentarily dismissed from the BHA board in 1971 by Mayor Kevin H. White, but was reinstated by an order from the Massachusetts Supreme Court. In 1973 Bunte became the first black woman in the Massachusetts Legislature when she was elected to the House of Representatives. While serving, she helped found the Black Legislative Caucus and the Caucus of Women Legislatures. After twelve years as a representative, she left the Massachusetts Legislature to become director of the BHA. There, she became responsible for the desegregation of public housing. Bunte left the BHA in 1992 and quietly started working for the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University and the Boston University School of Public Health, where she continued tenant-focused activist work. She retired in 2010.

Bunte was always focused on public housing and was involved in the National Rent Board and the National Tenants Organization. She was in the Critical Minority Affairs Committee and the National Association of Housing and Development, as well as the Citizens Housing and Planning Association. Her work has been recognized in many ways, including her image being featured in a mural in the historic Alvah Kittredge House. She was also featured in an exhibit called “Portraits in Black: Gaining Ground, Holding Office” in the Boston and Nantucket Museum of African American History in 2004.

Bunte lives in Dorchester, Massachusetts. She has three children.

The Honorable Doris Bunte was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 19, 2016.

Speaker Bureau Notes: