Great article last week published on high school, college debater, President of the Debate Team and Queens, New York resident Ralph Bunche. Bunche besides being an award winning debater was the first African American recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, first African American to gain a PhD in political science from an American university, worked for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II (predecessor to the CIA), Undersecretary-General of the United Nations, academic, and diplomat who was critical to the founding of the United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and peacemaking work in the Middle East, Congo, Yemen, Kashmir, and Cyprus. His peace treaty work in the Middle East would later become the model of truce agreement between the Bloods and the Crips in Los Angeles. Born the grandson of a slave and orphaned at the age of 12, Bunche rose to become undersecretary-general of the United Nations. Bunch participated in the March on Washington and was Professor at Howard University and impacting generations of students. He was on the debate team of his high school and also Valedictorian of high school but denied membership in the city’s honor society because of his race. Accepted to UCLA on a football scholarship, he also joined the Debate Team and later became President of the Debate Team. Bunche worked his way through college as a janitor and graduated from UCLA as valedictorian.
After twenty-five years of service to the United Nations. The United Nations stated this about Bunche…”…championed the principle of equal rights for everyone, regardless of race or creed. He believed in “the essential goodness of all people, and that no problem in human relations is insoluble.” (“Ralph Bunche: Visionary for Peace”)
And great statement he made in in 1926 while on the Debate Team but just as applicable in today’s world,
“There is not the slightest doubt that by vicious use of propaganda, preying upon the racial and nationalistic hatreds of the peoples of the world, this universe could very shortly again be transformed into a seething cauldron of infuriated nations.” (Brian Urquhart, Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey, New York: W. W. Norton and Co. p. 40)