Recognizing the Centenary of the Birth of Dr. Ralph Johnson Bunche
WHEREAS, Ralph Bunche rose from humble beginnings as a young black man in America in a racially hostile social environment, to become one the most important and influential world leaders of his time, leaving an important legacy for future generations; and
WHEREAS, Ralph Bunche as a youth was an outstanding scholar who graduated at the top of his class at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, but was denied induction in the honors society because of his race; and
WHEREAS, Ralph Bunche graduated valedictorian, summa cum laude, with a degree in Political Science from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1927; and
WHEREAS, in 1933 Ralph Bunche participated in the Second Amenia Conference, a gathering of young and potential leaders of African descent, that was critical in redefining the focus of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; and
WHEREAS, Ralph Bunche wrote a prize-winning doctoral dissertation on colonialism in Africa, and in 1934 became the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. in Government and International Relations from Harvard University; and
WHEREAS, Ralph Bunche was one of the founders of the National Negro Congress in 1936; and
WHEREAS, Ralph Bunche in the years 1936-1937 became the first African American to conduct extensive field research on the problems of race in East and, West Africa and Southern Africa, documenting his findings in his study, A World View of Race; and
WHEREAS, Ralph Bunche established and chaired the Political Science Department at Howard University and was a key member of the intellectual elite of young black scholar-activists, concerned with the persistent second-class status of the American black population; and
WHEREAS, Ralph Bunche became closely identified with the United Nations, attending the San Francisco Conference that drafted the United Nations Charter; serving as Director of the Trusteeship Department of the United Nations, Mediator of the Arab-Israeli War, and later becoming Under-Secretary-General of Special Political Affairs, closely identified with UN Peacekeeping efforts; and
WHEREAS, in 1950, Ralph Bunche was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, the first person of color in the world to be attaining this feat, for his successful negotiation of the 1949 Rhodes Armistice between Israel and its Arab neighbors, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria; and
WHEREAS, Ralph Bunche was an indefatigable warrior for civil rights, joining picket lines in Washington, DC in 1937, participating in the 1963 March on Washington and despite his failing health participated in the voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965; and
WHEREAS, the NAACP, in recognition of Ralph Bunche's contribution to civil rights and race relations awarded him the Spingarn Medal in 1949; and
WHEREAS, Ralph Bunche was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and served with distinction on the Board of Directors for twenty-two years.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People call on all of its members to recognize and remember the contributions Ralph Bunche made to civil rights, human rights and race relations to incorporate his legacy into their daily lives and to use Ralph Bunche's legacy to reaffirm our commitment to the protection and enhancement of civil rights for African Americans and other minorities; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People urges its units to host appropriate events commemorating the legacy of this outstanding and extraordinary scholar, civil rights activist, international peacemaker, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Spingarn Medalist and champion of race relations.