A Brief and Tentative Analysis of Negro Leadership by Ralph J. Bunche

By Ralph J. Bunche

A world-renowned student and statesman, Dr. Ralph J. Bunche (1903—1971) started his occupation as an educator and a political scientist, and later joined the United international locations, serving as Undersecretary normal for seventeen of his twenty-five years with that physique. This African American mediator was once the 1st individual of colour at any place on the earth to be offered the Nobel Prize for Peace. within the mid-1930s, Bunche performed a key function in organizing the nationwide Negro Congress, a favored front-styled team devoted to revolutionary politics and exertions and civil rights reform.

A short and Tentative research of Negro Leadership presents key perception into black management on the sunrise of the trendy civil rights circulation. initially ready for the Carnegie beginning learn, An American trouble: The Negro challenge and glossy Democracy, Bunche’s study at the subject was once accomplished in 1940. This never-before-published paintings now comprises a longer scholarly advent in addition to contextual reviews all through by way of Jonathan Scott Holloway.

Despite the truth that Malcolm X known as Bunche a “black guy who did not understand his history,” Bunche by no means wavered from his religion that integrationist politics cleared the path for racial development. This new quantity forces a reconsideration of Bunche's legacy as a reformer and the ancient which means of his early involvement within the civil rights movement.

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Where one fell in the spectrum of leadership types was dependent on who was passing judgment. In the end, leadership was constantly contingent on context. But while the typology is, at best, a crude indicator of leadership types in the black community, we would be rash to dismiss it out of hand. Bunche’s leadership categories resonate because they reflected a gut-level sensibility of different types of black leaders. Readers could identify any number of community, city, state, or national leaders who fit into Bunche’s categories.

The very nature of the subject implies an analysis of those social factors which are responsible for the elevation of individual Negroes to positions of prominence and influence among Negro or Negro and white groups. What is the social process involved here? What are the frustrations encountered by the individual in the American social milieu? For, if 31 32 Introduction: Negro Leadership the subject is to have any meaning at all, it can only be through its interpretation within the framework of the American social process in its entirety.

It is a type of leader for whom Bunche made clear his disdain. Bunche’s introductory description confirms his negative appraisal of Jones and his ilk: He is cautious, suspicious, patient and proud of his “quality folks” white friends, who greatly admired him. Through them he can get things done. With Negroes he is hard and revengeful and doesn’t like to be crossed by them. He is considered an opportunist, a go-between also, and there is a suggestion of the racketeer in his activities. But he can get 14 Editor’s Introduction things done, in his way, which is the way of the old school, the not so very old school of plantation days, whose pattern has been refined by but not lost to many modern Negro leaders.

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