American Diplomat Ralph Bunche Died
December 9, 1971
you ever tried to create peace between two fighting people? It can be a
delicate process, but American diplomat Ralph Bunche had a knack for
negotiation, along with excellent training and experience. Bunche died
on December 9, 1971, in New York City, but not before many political and
personal accomplishments, like winning the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize.
His career as diplomat, mediator, educator, writer, social theorist, and
political leader began after his education at Harvard University.
Bunche earned graduate degrees in both
government and international relations. In 1929, he established
a department of political science at Howard University in
Washington, D.C. Between 1938 and 1940, Bunche collaborated on a
monumental study of U.S. race relations, which presented the
theory that "poverty breeds poverty." With World War II, Bunche
worked for the War Department and the State Department. He
played an important role in the early planning for the United
Nations, the organization he served for the rest of his career,
with some remarkable achievements.
When the chief United Nations mediator of the
Palestine mission was suddenly assassinated in 1948, Ralph
Bunche took over and successfully negotiated an end to the first
Arab-Israeli War. His role in this 1949 truce won him the Nobel
Peace Prize. He later oversaw U.N. peacekeeping missions to the
Suez Canal, Congo, and Cyprus. He served as a board member for
the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
(NAACP) for 22 years. In the last decade of his life, he
actively supported the civil rights movements, even marching in
Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, when he was 61 years old.
All his life, Bunche was a man who negotiated for peace.