The Ralph J. Bunche House is a Victorian Bungalow style duplex that was the childhood home of Dr. Ralph J. Bunche. Dr. Bunche was the first colored person to win a Nobel Peace Prize. He moved to Los Angeles around 1918 with his sister and grandmother. They were one of the only colored families living in the area at the time.
Dr. Bunche was the valedictorian at both his high school and University. He attended UCLA and was also a great basketball player for the University. In 1950, Bunche was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize after drafting and negotiating the 1949 Armistice Agreements. The 1949 Armistice Agreements ended the Arab-Israeli War. Bunche was the first colored person in the world to be awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1976 the Ralph J. Bunche House was declared a Historic-Cultural Monument by the city of Los Angeles and in 1978 it was put on the list of National Register of Historic Places. The home was eventually divided into a duplex and was not well taken care of. It was vacant for more than a decade until it was acquired by the Dunbar Economic Development Corporation in the mid 90’s.
The journey to restoring this historic home was a long one full of many different obstacles including vandalism and multiple delays in funding. The building was on the edge of being destroyed when its new owners got it and they fought hard to bring it back to its former glory. The little remaining historic fabric was preserved and eventually the nonprofit was able to make this home into the Ralph Bunche Peace and Heritage Center.
The property was officially considered restored around the year 2002. The Los Angeles Times described the property as being “brilliant, with sunlight streaming through modified bay windows, scrubbed wood floors and an airy parlor/den/dining room.”
The house was used as a gathering place for the community as well as a place to commemorate Dr. Ralph J. Bunche’s life. It was also used for a youth leadership academy. In 2006, the Ralph J. Bunche house was awarded the Conservancy Preservation Award.
The Ralph J. Bunche house has since passed through several different hands as it was repeatedly leased or sold. It is a great place to visit in Los Angeles if you are able to fully appreciate the historical beauty and background that the home holds.
Another popular spot for both locals and visitors in the area is this Museum that holds the largest cultural and natural history collection on the west side of the U.S. Go here if you need extra funds to cover expenses on your Los Angeles outing.
Ralph J. Bunche House
1221 E 40th Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90011