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Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement Collection, 1977-2005 | Columbia College Chicago Archives

Title: Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement Collection, 1977-2005View associated digital content.Add to your cart.
Predominant Dates: 1985-1995
ID: 1000/03/MSS1003
Created by: Brock, Lisa
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Arrangement: The collection is divided into twelve series: Secondary Sources, Local Anti-Apartheid Organizations, National Anti-Apartheid Organizations, South African Anti Apartheid Organizations, International Anti-Apartheid Organizations, Events, Conferences, Reports, Writings and Notes, Audiovisual Materials, Artifacts, and Publications.

Materials in Secondary Sources arranged alphabetically by subject. Local, national, and international organizations, as well as events are arranged alphabetically by title. When possible, records were arranged chronologically within folders, with administrative records coming first, followed by correspondence, promotional materials, notes, and any news articles or newsletters. Conferences and reports are arranged alphabetically by title. Writings and Notes are arranged alphabetically by last name. Photos and artifacts are arranged alphabetically by subject. Audiovisual materials are arranged alphabetically by creator/title. Publications are arranged chronologically by title. Digital copies of posters, oral histories, and information boards are available online for research use.
Extent: 38.0 Cubic Feet
Other Note: The African Activist Archive

The African Activist Archive Project seeks to preserve for history the record of activities of U.S. organizations and individuals that supported African struggles for freedom and had a significant collective impact on U.S. policy during the period 1950-1994. One of the significant U.S. political movements in second half of the twentieth century, it included community activists, students, faculty, churches, unions, city and county councils, state governments, and others. This democratization of foreign policy was unprecedented and it is important that the lessons learned be documented for the benefit of ongoing social justice activism.
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Scope and Contents: Apartheid, the system of government-sponsored racism in South Africa, ended in 1990 with the prohibition against the African National Congress lifted and the release of all political prisoners. In 1994, after intense negotiations and escalating local violence, South Africa held the first democratic elections, voting in Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa and putting his party, the African National Congress, in control. The anti-apartheid struggle was not limited to South Africa; Angola, Namibia, and Mozambique were also under their own systems of institutionalized racism and the victory of Nelson Mandela paved the way for future stabilization across Southern Africa.

The end of the apartheid system was brought about, in part, by groups of people working locally around the globe who fought apartheid by endorsing economic sanctions and company boycotts. This collection, broadly defined as the Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement Collection, is made up of several local groups’ records. Chicago held an active role in the anti-apartheid movement, passing sanctions against companies that supported the apartheid government in South Africa, urging the divestment of holdings from South Africa and South African banks, and encouraging other local governments and large cities to do the same. In 1990, Chicago became a Sister Community to Alexandra Township, the largest township of Johannesburg.

The Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement Collection represents the work of such local Chicago-area groups. Each organization cosponsored other organizations’ events, speakers, committees, and protests. Examples of local organizations’ collaboration include Clergy and Laity Concerned, who fought for divestment sanctions against South Africa and organized boycotts against the Kugerrand and Shell Oil, and Synapses, Inc., a non-profit social justice organization that worked to end racism on a global scale and enact legislation on a local scale, with a focus on Southern Africa and Central America.

In 1983 CIDSA, the Coalition for Illinois Divestment from South Africa, an organization dedicated to supporting Illinois legislation and national sanctions against South Africa, that provided support for university and organizational divestment from South Africa, was formed. As CIDSA grew to include
chapters in Champaign-Urbana, Peoria, Bloomington/Normal, and Chicago, the organization found increased success in their divestment work, and eventually re-formed with a new direction and name, becoming CCISSA, the Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa. CCISSA provided broad
support to South African organizations and activists, including working with local organizations to provide assistance, bringing speakers and anti-apartheid activists to Chicago, and co-sponsoring events such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Sing Out Against Apartheid, and the Soweto Day Walkathon, which raised money for South African organizations.

By 1990, CCISSA, with the assistance of Synapses and the 8th Day Center for Justice launched CASCP, the Chicago Alexandra Sister Community Project, and in April of that year, Mayor Richard M. Daley proclaimed Chicago to be a sister community to Alexandra. CASCP educated Chicagoans about the
conditions in Alexandra, and worked with the Alexandra Civic Organization and local organizations to recognize and call attention to problems by organizing activities and developing leadership and political solutions. CCISSA/CASCP also partnered with local organizations such as Chicago TransAfrica, the
Chicago Mozambique Support Network, the Illinois Labor Network Against Apartheid, and the Mozambique Solidarity office, as well as national and international organizations, to sponsor guest speakers, work as election monitors in South Africa, and bring Nelson Mandela to Chicago in 1993.

The Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement Collection consists of organizational and administrative records, brochures and fliers, news and journal articles, correspondence, legislation, published reports and findings, publications, posters, audiovisual material, and artifacts including an 11 ft. x 6 ft. banner. The collection also contains material from individual activists in series 9, Writings and Notes.

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