Ralph Bunche Biography

Ralph Bunche Biography

Ralph Bunche was a distinguished American political scientist, diplomat and a leader who had been instrumental in the Civil Rights Movements in the United Students. He also played a great role in the establishment and functioning of the United Nations and served as the assistant to UN Special committee on Palestine. He was also the Principal Secretary of the U.N. Palestine Commission.

Childhood and Early Life of Ralph Bunche

Ralph Bunche was born on 7 August 1903 to a barber and a musician mother in Detroit. His family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, hoping for improvement in the poor health of his parents. His parents could not survive more than two years and Ralph and his two sisters were taken care of by his grandmother. Ralph supported his family by selling news papers and taking odd job he could find. Bunche was a bright student, debater and orator of his graduating class at Jefferson High School.

In 1927 he graduated from summa cum laude. He got scholarship from Harvard University, with support of a thousand dollars by the black community of Los Angeles, went to pursue studies at Harvard. In1928, he acquired a master’s degree in political science, doctorate in 1934. He also earned a post doctoral degree in anthropology.

Career of Ralph Bunche

He chaired the Political Science Department at Harvard University and was a part of the American Federation of Teachers affiliate at Harvard. He was also an active member of the New York City Board of Education and the Board of Overseers of Harvard University for 5 years. He served as a trustee of Oberlin College, Lincoln University, along with New Lincoln School.

In 1936 he wrote a book “A World View of Race” in which his views on War on Race were manifested. From 1936 to 1940 he worked as editor of the journal Science and Society. In World War II, Bunche worked in the Office of Strategic Services in the capacity of senior social analyst on Colonial Affairs before becoming a part of State Department in 1943. He worked as Associate Chief of the division of Dependent Area Affairs and worked under the guidance of Alger Hiss. He became one of the leading members of the Institute of the Pacific Relation (IPR). 

United Nations and Palestine

Ralph Bunche has been instrumental in the formation of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. In the year 1947 he worked as assistant to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine. After the killing of Bernadotte, Bunche was made the chief mediator and signed the 1949 Armistice agreements for which he earned a Nobel Peace Prize in 1950.

Death and Honors

At died at the age of 68. Ralph Bunche was conferred with the Silver Buffalo Award by the National Boy Scouts of America. On 12 January, a US postage stamp was released to commemorate the memory of Dr. Ralph Bunche. The Ralph Bunche Library was also founded in 1978 which is the oldest Federal government library.

Ralph Bunche Quotes

“Hearts are the strongest when they beat in response to noble ideals.”
- Ralph Bunche Quotes

“To make our way, we must have firm resolve, persistence, tenacity. We must gear ourselves to work hard all the way. We can never let up.”
- Ralph Bunche Quotes

“The United Nations is our one great hope for a peaceful and free world”
- Ralph Bunche Quotes

“There are no warlike people, just warlike leaders.”
- Ralph Bunche Quotes

“If you want to get across an idea, wrap it up in person”
- Ralph Bunche Quotes

“We must fight as a race for everything that makes for a better country and a better world. We are dreaming idiots and trusting fools to do anything less.”
- Ralph Bunche Quotes


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