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Black History Boston: Doris Bunte

Today we are proud to honor the contributions of the Honorable Doris Bunte, the first Black woman to serve in the Massachusetts Legislature!

Doris Bunte has served Boston for decades, uplifting the lives of the most vulnerable people of our commonwealth. Born in New York City, she moved to Boston in 1953 with three children. She moved to the Orchard Park Housing Projects, where she joined the management council and co-founded the Boston Public Housing Tenants Policy Council in 1968. Doris enrolled in Harvard University in 1978, where she earned a certificate in environmental studies from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and her M.A. degree in education in 1982. 

Doris Bunte flyer
Photo Credit: The Northeastern University Archives

In 1969, Doris was nominated to the Boston Housing Authority Board, making her the first public housing tenant to serve on the board. In 1973, she was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, becoming the first Black woman to serve in the Massachusetts legislature. While there, Doris founded the Massachusetts Legislative Black Caucus and the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators. After spending 12 years as a representative, she left to become the director of the Boston Housing Authority, where she moved forward public housing integration. In 1992, she left the Boston Housing Authority to work at Northeastern and Boston University, before retiring in 2010. 

Thank you, Doris Bunte, for your contributions to the Black history and people of Boston. Your work has been absolutely paramount to the survival and quality of life of countless people in Boston.

Thank you for your contributions and life’s work!!

Learn more about Doris Bunte:

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