Ralph Bunche Dies

American diplomat Ralph Bunche, winner of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize, died on December 9, 1971 in New York City.

Bunche was born in Detroit, Michigan on August 7, 1904. In the time between earning graduate degrees in government and international relations at Harvard University, he established a department of political science at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1928. Between 1938 and 1940, he collaborated with Swedish sociologist Gunnar Myrdal on the monumental study of U.S. race relations published as An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (1944). The study is famous for presenting the theory that poverty breeds poverty.

During World War II, Bunche worked for the War Department and the State Department. Toward the end of the war, he played an important role in preliminary planning for the United Nations, the organization he served for the rest of his career.

Ralph Johnson Bunche (August 7, 1903 – December 9, 1971) was an American political scientist and diplomat who received the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his late 1940s mediation in Palestine. He was the first person of color to be so honored in the history of the Prize. He was involved in formation and administration of the United Nations. In 1963, he received the Medal of Freedom from President John F. Kennedy.

As a prominent African American, Bunche was an active and vocal supporter of the civil rights movement, and participated in a protest march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

Bunche was a resident of the Kew Gardens neighborhood of Queens, New York.

Bunche died in 1971 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. He was 68.