FOR SHORT FOLLOW-UP DISCUSSION
RALPH BUNCHE: ROLE MODEL? LEADER? ADMIRABLE PERSON? HERO?
viewing the film, spend one or more class sessions analyzing
the merits of Ralph Bunche's life and work and discussing
his rightful place in history. Develop criteria for determining
whether or not a person should be considered a role model,
a leader, an admirable person or a hero and apply the criteria
to Ralph Bunche. This activity helps students become personally
involved in making meaning of the film, clarifies their personal
views on what makes an individual someone to be honored and
gives them the opportunity to decide Ralph Bunche's place
Bunche's philosophy and accomplishments as presented in
the film. Focus on evidence presented in the film, both
pro and con, regarding the following personal characteristics:
personal drive to achieve excellence in all pursuits,
refusal to be limited by racism and prejudice,
ability to deal with crises and attempt to help find solutions
to perplexing problems,
determination to seek equal rights for African Americans,
willingness to take risks for a good cause,
efforts to work within the system to bring about change
goal to advance the cause of peace and justice
the issues and help the students clarify their personal
views. To stimulate discussion, raise questions such as
the following by projecting them on a screen or developing
a worksheet to hand out to students.
are the characteristics of a person that you think of
as role model, a leader, an admirable person or a hero?
are your role models?
do you consider to be a leader?
individuals do you most admire?
do you consider to be your heroes?
are the two most important criteria that you used in deciding
who is a role model, a leader, an admirable person or
the students to jot down answers to the questions.
the class into small groups of four or five students and
ask group members to share their ideas and compile a list
of answers agreed to by the whole group.
each group report its answers to the class and as the groups
report, record the answers for the class.
the merits of the various answers by focusing on the last
question: What are the 2 most important criteria for considering
a person a role model, a leader, an admirable person or
a hero? Decide on answers that the class can agree with.
students to apply the criteria they developed to Ralph Bunche's
life and work, taking into consideration both the positive
and negative comments in the film.
conclusion, ask each student to write a paragraph related
to a summary question, such as: Do you consider Ralph Bunche
a role model? A leader? An admirable person? A hero? Allow
students to choose one of the four options or write in general
about all four. After students complete the assignment,
give them the opportunity to share their writing in small
groups or with the class.
A BIOGRAPHICAL APPROACH
the film as a vehicle to introduce important people in United
States and world history to students. Investigating the lives
of individuals cited in the film will expand the students
knowledge of the civil rights movement and the post-World
War II world.
the individuals that you want to focus on in addition
to Ralph Bunche. Or allow the class to choose a predetermined
number of names from those cited in the film and those
mentioned in the Glossary of People, Terms and Events,
such as Count Folke Bernadotte, Stokely Carmichael, Arthur
P. Davis, John P. Davis, E. Franklin Frazier, W. E. B.
Du Bois, Trygve Lie, Dag Hammarskjold, Haile Selassie,
Patrice Lumumba, Martin Luther King, Jr., Sen. Joseph
McCarthy, Gamel Abdul Nasser, Franklin Roosevelt, U Thant
and Sir Brian Urquhart.
the class into several small groups and assign each group
2 or 3 names to investigate.
students to summarize what the film said about the individuals
they have been assigned and conduct further research on
one or two class periods to discuss the students' findings
on each, with a focus on what they accomplished and why
they are important in United States and world history.
the discussion ask each student to select the one person
in the list that they found the most interesting and write
4 or 5 sentences about why this person is important.
students to share their writing in small groups or with the
USING THE FILM AS A PRIMARY SOURCE
Advanced Placement, honors or gifted and talented classes
treat the film as a primary source to be analyzed and interpreted
by students with minimal preparation. It might be sufficient
for the teacher to review with the class terms from the glossary
and some information from the timeline prior to the screening.
But the point of this activity is NOT to give the students
leading questions. The purpose of this activity is to give
the students some practice in using their analysis and interpretative
skills and to give them the opportunity to make meaning of
a primary source on their own.
students to view the film either on PBS or in the classroom.
Explain that they will have to identify the main themes
of the film and comment on the film's usefulness as a source
of information. If you have a copy of the film to use in
the classroom, it might be useful to stop the film at 3
or 4 transitional points in the story to briefly point out
some of the issues as the film progresses.
the film, give students time, either individually or in
small groups, to identify its main themes, overriding ideas,
biases and effectiveness in its treatment of Ralph Bunche.
the students have reached their conclusions, conduct a class
discussion to allow students the opportunity to present
their ideas and to comment on and question each others'
presentations. You might want to guide the discussion to
some of the following questions, if the students don't address
them on their own.
should history view Bunche as we look back on his life
and work from the 21st century?
Bunche's appreciation of "politics as the art of the possible"
weigh too heavily on his approach and lead him to fail
in achieving real justice for all people? Was he an honest
broker or a tool of the industrialized West?
Bunche, as the most honored and widely respected African
American of the day, fight as diligently as he should
to advance equality and justice for African Americans?
did Bunche's childhood and education shape his philosophy
the filmmaker present a balanced treatment of Bunche?
What was the filmmaker's attitude toward Bunche? Were
there biases in the narration and the commentary by scholars?
with a consensus building activity that leads the students
to craft three or four statements on the film's meaning
WHERE IN THE WORLD WAS RALPH BUNCHE?
Bunche's life and career as an international diplomat brought
him in contact with much of the globe, both within the US
and abroad. As the story unfolds on film, names of various
countries, cities and continents are mentioned. Because students
will be motivated to locate these places, the film provides
a good opportunity to explore place location as well as the
changing boundaries of nations as the forces of war, politics,
and culture impact on them across time.
following activity -- taking 4 or 5 days -- will help students
identify the location of places, understand how politics and
culture change territorial boundaries and appreciate how historical
maps illustrate the history of place.
screening the film, discuss the contributions made by Ralph
Bunche to United States and world history, especially those
involving decolonization and the Middle East. If internet
access is available, also go to the Ralph Bunche companion
website at www.ralphbunche.com and look at the The Drive
to Decolonize and The Peacemaker sections for additional
place names. Develop a list of the places mentioned in the
film and referred to on the Ralph Bunche website.
the students to locate the places on the list on an up-to-date
wall map or on maps in atlases, textbooks or online. The
websites will be especially useful. The students will discover
that the names of some countries have changed and that some
of the boundaries are different from what they were at the
that politics, economics and culture change the political
map of the world and point out that historical maps showing
boundaries at different times are useful tools in gaining
an understanding of this process.
groups of students the task of studying specific areas of
the world mentioned in the film or on the websites. Or they
can chosse from a list that might include Europe, Russia,
the Middle East, India, Korea, and Africa, as well as Cyprus,
Kashmir, and Bahrain. Direct them to consult atlases, encyclopedias,
other reference material and the Internet to find historical
and contemporary maps that illustrate the changing boundaries
in the area they have been assigned. Ask them to find out
when and why the boundaries changed. Have them construct
two or three maps of the area they are working on to compare
political boundaries in the distant past, during the period/events
covered in the film, and today.
each group to post the maps they have created, and explain
why the boundaries and/or names have changed.
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