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Color: Orange
Food: Fried Chicken
Quote: Being poor is not the result of a flaw in character.
Season: Spring
Vacation Destination: N/A
Birthplace
New York, New York
Interview Description:

Biography |

Interview Date: 10/19/2016

State representative and city government appointee The Honorable Doris Bunte was born on July 2, 1933 in New York, New York. She grew up attending New York Public Schools, but dropped out before earning her high school diploma. In 1953, she moved to Boston, Massachusetts with her three children, and earned her GED in 1968. She enrolled in Harvard University in 1978, where she earned her B.A. degree and M.A. degree in education.

In 1969, Bunte was nominated to the Boston Housing Authority board, making her the first public housing tenant to serve. She was dismissed from the Boston Housing Authority board in 1971 by Mayor Kevin H. White, but was reinstated by an order from the Massachusetts Supreme Court. In 1973, she was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, becoming the first black woman in the Massachusetts legislature. While serving in the Massachusetts legislature, Bunte 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 Boston Housing Authority. There, she was responsible for the desegregation of public housing. Bunte left the Boston Housing Authority in 1992, and began 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. Bunte retired in 2010.

Throughout her career, Bunte focused on public housing, participating in the National Rent Board and the National Tenants Organization. She served on both 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, including the featuring of her image in a mural in the historic Alvah Kittredge House, and 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: