Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement

Document Type



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Publication Date

Spring 2010


Pestalozzi-Froebel Teachers College, Roosevelt University, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Chicago Defender, Ishmael Flory, National Anti-Imperialist Movement in Solidarity with African Liberation, Carol Moseley-Braun, Gus Savage, Barbara Masekela, African National Congress, National Alliance against Racist and Political Repression (U.S.), Angela Davis, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Dennis Brutus, Dennis, Johnny Makatni, Harold Washington, Nelson Mandela, Harold Rogers, Winnie Mandela, Barack Obama


African History | Cultural History | Oral History | Political History | Political Science | Political Theory | Race and Ethnicity | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | United States History | Work, Economy and Organizations


Length: 95 minutes

Oral history interview of Clarice Durham by Lauren Ashley Alexander

Clarice Durham recalls her childhood and recounts her work with the Illinois NAACP, The National Anti-Imperialist Movement in Solidarity with African Liberation (NAIMSAL), and as co-chair of the National Alliance Against Racial and Political Oppression. She campaigned for justice in the Scottsboro Boys case in 1931, attended the founding convention of the Progressive Party in 1948, and participated in the March on Washington in 1963. As Durham recaps her trip to South Africa, she recalls the change it had on her and her views of the movement. She reflects on NAIMSAL events and speaks about activism.

Biography and Comments

Clarice Durham was born in Mobile, Alabama in 1919, then moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she, her sister, and three brothers were raised. When her parents died of tuberculosis when she was eleven years old, the children moved to Chicago in 1931 to live with her maternal grandfather, Charles R. Williams. She graduated from DuSable High School in 1937 and earned a BE from Pestalozzi Froebel Teachers College and a MA from Roosevelt University. She undertook further studies at Chicago Teachers College, University of Chicago, and Northwestern University. She worked for the Chicago Public Schools from 1958 to 1990 teaching kindergarten and in the Head Start program, retiring as Head Start district coordinator. In 1942 she married writer Richard Durham, also a feature writer for the Chicago Defender newspaper. He wrote speeches for Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, and she was active in Harold Washington’s mayoral campaigns.

The interviewer conducted this oral history as part of his/her coursework for the Spring 2010 class, Oral History: The Art of the Interview. This interview supports the scope and content of the Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement Collection at the College Archives & Special Collections department of Columbia College Chicago. Contact for more information and to view the collection.

Additional Files

Interview with Clarice Durham.pdf (203 kB)



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