The Ralph J. Bunche Library and Media Center was established in 1969 as a part of the Center for African American Studies. Its purpose was to provide specialized reference and information services to students and researchers studying African and African American history, culture and art. Before the Center was established researchers struggled to access information on the contributions and culture of Africans in America and the Diaspora. Students, Faculty and Staff donated time and materials to begin building a rich collection of data on African American communities. The library’s current collection consists of books, journals, multimedia and archives documenting the African, African American, and Afro Caribbean experience.
The Library and media center has more than 8,000 books on African American history, literature, social and political issues as well as materials on Africa and the Caribbean. There are unique items in the collection documenting lesser known civil rights struggles, and early data on African American communities. Organizations and special groups donated their research and committee reports on to the library, while independent authors and publishers donated books to the collection.
The Bunche Center subscribes to scholarly journals focusing on African American literature, history, and social issues. Students and researchers can access several renowned journals such as Crisis and the Journal of Negro History as far back as 1910. Other journals deal with multi-cultural issues in education and professional fields. In addition to scholarly journals, the library subscribes to popular magazines such as Jet and regional African American newspapers.
The Bunche Center is in the process of accepting several archival collections. Jazz musician Kenny Burrell has worked with Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie in addition to creating over 90 albums during his career. Carlos Moore is an Afro Cuban scholar living in exile in Brazil. Carlos supported Fidel Castro during the Cuban Revolution, but was repulsed by racist practices in party. Moore left Cuba and spent his career speaking against the racist practices in the Castro regime. UCLA’s African Student Union (ASU) was established in the late sixties to give academic and social support to African American students on campus. Today the ASU sponsors programs that support African American student recruitment and retention at UCLA. African Native Americans in Southern California (ANASCA) was founded in the early nineties to give voice and community to African Americans of Native American descent. In addition to archives the library has a collection of vertical files with news clippings and other ephemera related to African Americans. The Bunche Center was recently awarded a Haynes Grant and we are in the process of digitizing audio and video recordings of important events which took place in the library when the Center for African American Studies was established.
In 1970, then center director Arthur L. Smith (Molefi Asante) commissioned a 14-year-old Richard Wyatt, Jr. and his friend, Guillermo Anderson, to paint a mural representing black life and culture. The 7 by 9 foot mural was restored in 2010 and today hangs proudly outside of the Library and Media Center. For more on the creation of the mural, please visit UCLA Today.
The Bunche Center has movies and music on VHS, DVD and CD available for students and researchers to use in the library.
Contact the Librarian:
Haines Hall 135
Regular Hours: Monday – Thursday, 10am – 5pm
Please visit our CALENDAR for events in the Library
Other Campus Collections