The Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, founded in 1969 as the Center for Afro-American Studies (CAAS), was renamed after Nobel Prize winner, scholar, activist, and UCLA alumnus Ralph J. Bunche in 2003, in commemoration of the centenary of his birth.

Interim Director Kelly Lytle Hernández, professor in the Department of History at UCLA, administers the Center with the guidance of an advisory committee appointed by the Vice Provost for the Institute of American Cultures (IAC) and composed of faculty from across campus.

The Bunche Center is housed within the IAC, which was established in 1969 to promote the development of ethnic studies at UCLA by providing a structure for coordination of the four ethnic studies centers on campus (Bunche Center, Chicano Studies Research Center, Asian American Studies Center, and American Indian Studies Center). Through each center, the IAC awards annual pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships and faculty and student research grants.


Bunche Center research programs are designed to (1) expand the knowledge of the history, lifestyles, and socio-cultural systems of people of African descent and (2) to investigate problems that have bearing on the psychological, social, and economic well-being of persons of African descent. Research sponsored and conducted by the Bunche Center is multidisciplinary in scope and spans the humanities, social sciences, fine arts, and several professional schools.


The Bunche Center Library and Media Center (LMC) provides specialized library and informational services to UCLA faculty, students, and staff and to researchers in the community at large. In so doing, the Library supports academic programs and research projects in Afro-American Studies and complements the resources of the UCLA library system.

Message from the Director (2013-2014)

On April 13, 1964, Sidney Poitier made history by becoming the…

History & Mission