Make Black History Personal: #9 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Ralph Bunche

Ralph Bunche was born in my hometown of Detroit in 1904. He was a brilliant academic who was the first African-American to achieve a Ph.D in political science.

After he completed his studies, Mr. Bunche joined the staff of Howard University in Washington, D.C. as a professor. What I didn’t know until I was grown was that Ralph Bunche taught my mother when she was in college at Howard and was one of her favorite professors.

Ralph Bunche was an esteemed college professor, diplomat and peacemaker.
Ralph Bunche was an esteemed college professor, diplomat and peacemaker.

Through the years he became a U.S. diplomat working with the United Nations, was known as a civil rights activist and for his efforts to promote peace in the Middle East and parts of Africa. The ultimate recognition of his work came in 1950, when Ralph Bunche became the first Black person to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.

I’ve wondered recently about what my mother took away from her time in college listening to Professor Bunche. But as I read this quote of his, I believe I have my answer because it reminds me to a “T” of what my mother taught me as I was growing up –

To make his way, the Negro must have firm resolve, persistence, tenacity. He must gear himself to hard work all the way. He can never let up. He can never have too much preparation and training. He must be a strong competitor. He must adhere staunchly to the basic principle that anything less than full equality is not enough. If he compromises on that principle his soul is dead.

How can you make Black history personal?

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