Ralph Bunche
Ralph Bunche

Howard University, Moorland Spingarn Research Center

Ralph J. Bunche (August 7, 1904-1971) was born in Detroit, Michigan. When he was ten years old, the family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Two years later, they moved to Los Angeles, California.

He graduated in 1927, summa cum laude, valedictorian of his class, with a major in international relations at the University of California in Los Angeles. He began his graduate studies at Harvard University in political science, completing his master's degree in 1928.

He was a member of the Black Cabinet consulting on minority problems during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. He declined President Truman's offer of the position as Assistant Secretary of State because of the segregated housing conditions in Washington, D. C.

He was actively involved in the modern American Civil Rights Movement. He participated in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the Selma to Montgomery, Alabama march which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He also supported action programs of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the National Urban League.

Ralph Bunche's enduring fame arose from his service to the U. S. Government and to the United Nations (UN). He served as an adviser to the Department of State and to the military on Africa and colonized areas of strategic military importance during World War II. From June of 1947 to August of 1949, he worked on the confrontation between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. In September of 1948, he was named acting UN mediator on Palestine, and was successful in obtaining signatures on armistice agreements between Israel and the Arab States.

In 1949 he was awarded the Spingarn Prize by the NAACP, and within the next three years, was presented with over thirty honorary degrees. In 1950 Ralph Johnson Bunche was the first African American recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace.

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

White House Historical Society

President Barack H. Obama (August 4, 1961 - ) was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents. At the age of six, Obama and his mother moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, where he obtained his early educational disciplines, later returning to Hawaii to live with his grandparents. He continued his education at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California and received a B.A. in 1983 from Columbia University. He also studied law at Harvard University, where he became the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review. In 1991 he received a Juris Doctorate.

He worked as a community organizer in Chicago, Illinois. He served as a lecturer on constitutional law at the University of Chicago. During his rise to political leadership he became a member of the Illinois State Senate from1997-2004 and subsequently elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in the year of 2004.

In 2008 he resigned from the U.S. Senate having been elected as the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008. He was re-elected as President of the United States on November 4, 2012. He and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of two daughters, Malia and Sasha.

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 was awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. President Obama created a new climate in international politics. As a result, collaborative diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. His vision of a world, free from nuclear arms, has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. The United States is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the greatclimatic challenges that confronts the world.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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