September 22, 1950:
On this day Ralph Bunche became the first Black person to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation efforts in the Middle East. He was responsible for negotiating the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and four Arab states. Bunche worked tirelessly for the United Nations for 25 mediating in other strife-torn regions, including the Congo, Yemen, Kashmir, and Cyprus.
But he didn’t just serve other nations. He dutifully served his own nation and his own people. Throughout his life, Bunche worked to improve race relations and further the cause of civil rights. Prominently involved in social activism by the 1930s, Ralph Bunche was among the group of African-American intellectuals coined the “Young Turks” by W.E.B. Du Bois. His integrationist beliefs were adopted by Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders in the 1950s. Bunche later joined King for the 1963 March on Washington and the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March. He also served on the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for more than two decades earning its highest honor, the Spingarn Medal, in 1949. Ralph Bunche died December 9, 1971, at age 68, from complications of diabetes mellitus.
Throughout his life and illustrious career, Bunche received numerous accolades and honors celebrating his work and achievements.
- In 1949, he was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP.
- In 1950, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, for his work in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict in Palestine
- In 1951, Bunche was awarded the Silver Buffalo Award by the National Boy Scouts of America for his work in scouting and positive impact for the world
- On February 11, 1972, the site of his birth in Detroit was listed as a Michigan Historic Site. Mrs. Ruth Bunche attended the unveiling of a historical marker on April 27, 1972.
- On January 12, 1982, the United States Postal Service issued a Great Americans series 20¢ postage stamp in his honor.
- Colgate University has the Ralph J. Bunche House which is a housing option available to juniors and seniors and can also be home to special interest groups.
- A bust of Dr. Bunche was erected at the entrance to Bunche Hall, named in his honor, at UCLA.
- The Ralph J. Bunche Library of the U.S. Department of State is the oldest Federal government library. Founded by the first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, in 1789, it was dedicated to and renamed the Ralph J. Bunche Library on May 5, 1997. It is located in the Harry S. Truman Building, the main State Department headquarters.
- In 1996, Howard University named its international affairs center, a physical facility and associated administrative programs, the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center. The Center is the site of lectures and internationally oriented programming.
- Ralph Bunche Park was named for him in New York City; it is located across First Avenue from the United Nations headquarters.
- The neighborhood of Bunche Park in the city of Miami Gardens, Florida, was named in his honor. A neighborhood of West Oakland, home to Ralph Bunche High School, is also known as “Ralph Bunche.”
- Elementary schools were named after him in Midland, Texas; Markham, Illinois; Flint, Michigan; Detroit, Michigan; Ecorse, Michigan; Canton, Georgia; Miami, Florida; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Oakland, California; Compton, California, Metairie, Louisiana; and New York City; high schools were named after him in King George County, Virginia
- Near Ft. Myers, Florida, historically black beaches in the age of segregation, have been named Bunche Beach 
- The Dr. Ralph J. Bunche Peace and Heritage Center, his boyhood home with his grandmother, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Landmarks, HCM #159. The building has been restored and is operated as an interpretive house Museum and Community Center.
- In Glasgow, Kentucky, the Liberty District- Ralph Bunche Community Center, to support community relations and cultural understanding, was named in his honor.
- In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante included Ralph Bunche on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.
- In 2004, Ralph Bunche was posthumously honored with the William J. Donovan Award from the OSS Society.
- Ralph Bunche Road in Nairobi, Kenya, is named after him.
- A scholarship at UCLA was named for him. The Ralph Bunche Committee is named for him, in the UCLA Alumni Association’s Alumni Scholars Club.
- A scholarship at Colby was named for him