Zimbabwe African National Union, Mozambique, Nelson Mandela, Joseph McCarthy, South African Secret Service, RENAMO (Organization), Johannesburg (South Africa), Chicago
African American Studies | African History | African Languages and Societies | Civic and Community Engagement | Cultural History | History | International Relations | Political History | Political Science | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity | Social History | Work, Economy and Organizations
Length: 50 minutes
Oral history interview of Helen Shiller by Jacob Martin Lingan
Ms. Shiller first outlines the path that led her to forming the Anti-Apartheid Ordinance, beginning with her work with the Minister of Information for ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union) and a trip to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa, which led to her interest in the latter. She recalls how, when she returned to Chicago, she was motivated to strengthen legislation against the Apartheid government. She describes the process they went through to force Chicago banks to divest from South Africa, which happened to coincide with Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. She details that earlier trip to Zimbabwe and Mozambique, where she learned of the violence perpetrated by RENAMO (Resistência Nacional Moçambicana), financed by the South African Secret Service. She changes direction to discuss her time teaching middle schoolers, realizing how little the students knew about Africa or apartheid, and her efforts to include Africa in their social science education, comparing civil rights in America to anti-Apartheid efforts in South Africa. She then reflects on what young people need to remember about this history and how to understand and treat other people to avoid such circumstances, comparing it to McCarthyism, the Vietnam War, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Lingan, Jacob Martin, "Interview with Helen Shiller" (Spring 2010). Oral Histories, Chicago Anti-Apartheid Collection, College Archives & Special Collections, Columbia College Chicago. http://digitalcommons.colum.edu/cadc_caam_oralhistories/1
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Additional FilesInterview with Helen Shiller.pdf (187 kB)
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