Bunche was not inclined to seek the limelight. However, he recognized
the unique opportunity that his celebrity presented and used
the media to advance the cause of racial progress. In pursuit
of this, he accepted numerous accolades, citations, honors and
medals (including the Presidential Medal of Freedom). He was
awarded 69 honorary degrees including Harvard and other top
universities throughout the world. He gave hundreds of speeches
and was featured in magazines like the Saturday Evening Post,
Ebony, Time, and Newsweek. A Readers Digest article noted that
"Ralph Bunche has become a legend in the land." *
"John D. Rockefeller dined at his
home. Movie stars sent him fan letters. Schools were named after
him. He was the houseguest of admirals and celebrities when
he traveled. Both political parties asked him to run for office.
Job offers poured in from Harvard, Chicago, the University of
California at Berkeley, and other prestigious universities.
The Brooklyn Dodgers sent season tickets, and Broadway shows
vied to have him attend their openings."
From Ralph J. Bunche: Selected Speeches and Writings, edited
with an introduction by Charles P. Henry
The demands of celebrity and of a society focused on race created
enormous pressures on Bunche and his family.
Quoted in "Ralph Bunche: The
Man and His Times," edited by Benjamin Rivlin.