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Despite the celebrity and the pressures that came with it, the Bunche's worked hard to maintain a normal family life.

Ruth and Ralph Bunche had three children, Joan, Jane and Ralph Jr. In some ways, theirs was a story book life complete with the material comfort one might expect of a successful American family in the 1940's and 1950's. But the Bunche household was hardly insulated from everyday racial prejudice:

"When [in 1957] the Westside Tennis Club refused to admit [Bunche's] son as a member, there was a national outcry that forced the club to change its mind. Throughout the 1950's, honors, invitations, requests for jobs, and fan mail (as well as hate mail) continued to pour into his office. Bunche always maintained his modesty and constantly reminded his black audiences that he was not free as long as they were not free."

- From Ralph J. Bunche: Selected Speeches and Writings, edited with an introduction by Charles P. Henry


Bunche's commitment to bringing peace and harmony to the world and its family of nations meant long periods of separation from his own family, especially at times of international crises.



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