Jerome Bibuld, U.S. And Global Human Rights And Justice Fighter Dies


Jerome Bibuld



Jerome Bibuld, activist for human rights, passed away on Tuesday, October 22.

He began his fight for human rights in 1944, at the age of 16, when he joined the Merchant Marine to “fight the fascists” during WW II.

In 1946 he enlisted in the Army. In 1949, while working on a campaign for New York City Councilman Benjamin Davis, an Afro-American  communist from Harlem, he met his first wife, Elaine Jones through mutual friend Oliver Leeds.  They had four children:  Douglass, Carrington, Melanie and Sarah.

Jerome Bibuld became a union organizer and served as a shop steward in the 1950s.  In 1960, at the behest of Mr. Leeds, he and his family joined Brooklyn  Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which developed a reputation nationally as being the most militant chapter of CORE.  In 1962 the family through Brooklyn Core, took on New York City’s segregated school system ultimately leading to NYC’s open enrollment  policy. 

During the Vietnam War era Mr. Bibuld, along with Brooklyn CORE alumni Msemaji Weusi (nee Maurice Fredericks ) and Vincent Young, formed the Bedford-Stuyvesant Draft Counseling Service, keeping thousands of Bed-Stuy youth from being drafted during that war.

In his early adulthood Mr. Bibuld became a devotee of chess and melding. With his organizing background he became a tournament director, first for the Commercial Chess League in New York, and following, for the US Chess Federation and the International Chess Federation (FIDE). 

He was an organizer for Bedford- Stuyvesant’s Kingsmen Chess Club.  He became a promoter and historian of Afro-American, Caribbean and African Chess.  He assisted the organization and development of national chess organizations and tournaments especially in Africa and the Caribbean, and championed the anti-apartheid and pro-Palestine movements in the chess world as well as outside of it. 

He also found time to mentor and assist in the development of chess activities in public schools in the inner cities of NYC and Westchester, and facilitated their participation in tournaments, including through teleconferencing.

His anti-apartheid activities included protests, at times by himself, outside the US Open tennis tournament in Flushing Meadows.  He was instrumental in getting apartheid South Africa expelled from FIDE. He was recognized by the ANC for his efforts, and was named the first life-member of the Chess Association of the People of South Africa (CAPSA), the anti-apartheid national organization.

Mr. Bibuld took up photography in his mid 60’s, becoming a chess photojournalist. His photos have been published in major national and international chess journals. His photography of Black chess masters and grandmasters are exhibited in the Schomburg Library in Harlem.

Jerome Bibuld, survivor of a difficult childhood through the Great Depression determined to oppose oppression in life whenever and wherever he encountered it.  He once wrote “The racism and the male supremacy of the society in which I live are the most important matters of principle in my life.  I try to live by pro-human principles. This means that I must fight racism and male supremacy continually because I am a United Statesian and a male in an imperial society..”

Services will be held on Saturday, November 9 at the Frank R Bell Funeral Home, 536 Sterling Pl  NY 11238, (718) 399-2500



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