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Trustee for the Human Community: Ralph J. Bunche, the United Nations, and the Decolonization of Africa

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Ralph J. Bunche (1904-1971), winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950, was a key U.S. diplomat in the planning and creation of the United Nations in 1945. In 1947 he was invited to join the permanent UN Secretariat as director of the new Trusteeship Department. In this position, Bunche played a key role in setting up the trusteeship system that provided important impetus for postwar decolonization ending European control of Africa as well as an international framework for the oversight of the decolonization process after the Second World War.

Trustee for the Human Community is the first volume to examine the totality of Bunche's unrivaled role in the struggle for African independence both as a key intellectual and as an international diplomat and to illuminate it from the broader African American perspective.

These commissioned essays examine the full range of Ralph Bunche's involvement in Africa. The scholars explore sensitive political issues, such as Bunche's role in the Congo and his views on the struggle in South Africa. Trustee for the Human Community stands as a monument to the profoundly important role of one of the greatest Americans in one of the greatest political movements in the history of the twentieth century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The essays collectively situate Bunche as a pioneering scholar of Africa, a tireless advocate of self-determination, and an engaged and determined peace-seeker…. Ralph Bunche was a man of real insight and personal courage, whose analysis of how international oversight can assist disadvantaged peoples achieve real self-determination is still applicable today in countries struggling with political power vacuums and economic hopelessness.”
H-Human Rights

“…a timely and noteworthy tribute in recognition of an outstanding Afro-American with an exceptional career, who notably contributed as much to the state of the art of African Studies in the U.S. as he did to the transition to independence on the African continent….”
Africa Spectrum

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780821419106
  • Publisher: Ohio University Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2010
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert A. Hill is professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles, and editor in chief of The Marcus Garvey & Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers Pro­ject in the James S. Coleman African Studies Center.

Robert A. Hill is professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles, and editor in chief of The Marcus Garvey & Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers Pro­ject in the James S. Coleman African Studies Center.

Robert A. Hill is professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles, and editor in chief of The Marcus Garvey & Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers Pro­ject in the James S. Coleman African Studies Center.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments vii

Introduction Robert A. Hill Edmond J. Keller ix

Centenary Memory Beads for Mr. Bunche Abena P. A. Busia xix

1 Bunche the Africanist Intellectual

Chapter 1 Ralph Bunche

African American Intellectual Martin Kilson 3

Chapter 2 Ralph Bunche and the Dawn of Africanist Scholarship David Anthony 19

Chapter 3 The Making of an Africanist

Ralph Bunche in South Africa, 1937 Robert Edgar 25

Chapter 4 Ralph Bunche and the Decolonization of African Studies

The Paradox of Power, Morality, and Scholarship Elliott P. Skinner 42

Chapter 5 Ralph Bunche the Africanist

Revisiting Paradigms Lost Pearl T. Robinson 69

2 Bunche the Statesman for Africa

Chapter 6 Decolonization through Trusteeship

The Legacy of Ralph Bunche Neta C. Crawford 93

Chapter 7 An Unexpected Challenge

Ralph Bunche as Field Commander in the Congo, 1960 John Olver 116

Chapter 8 Ralph Bunche and Patrice Lumumba

The Fatal Encounter Crawford Young 128

Chapter 9 Ralph Bunche, Patrice Lumumba, and the First Congo Crisis Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja 148

3 Reflections on Bunche's Legacy in Global Perspective

Chapter 10 Africa in the Global Decolonization Process

The Road to Postcoloniality Ralph A. Austen 161

Epilogue Charles P. Henry 181

Appendix United Nations Charter: The Trusteeship System 185

Contributors 193

Index 199

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