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1952 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Ralph Johnson Bunche*

U.S. Delegate to the United Nations

"I dedicated my life to the betterment of mankind."

The son of a barber, Ralph Bunche was born in Detroit in 1904. He moved with his family to New Mexico when he was 10 in the hopes that his parents' ill health would improve there. However, both died two years later. He then lived with his grandmother in Los Angeles, where he worked as a house boy for a movie actor. Valedictorian of his high school class, he attended UCLA on an athletic scholarship and supported himself working as a janitor. He earned a graduate degree from Harvard and also taught at Howard University and later at Harvard. He worked with Martin Luther King, Jr., in the civil rights movement and was also an adviser to the U. S. State Department. He served as secretary of the United Nations from 1947 to 1949, where he negotiated a settlement between Israel and the Arab states. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950.

* Deceased