Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement

Document Type



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Publication Date

Spring 2010


University of Chicago, Civil rights movement, Harold Washington, Carol Moseley-Braun, Corporations, Prexy Nesbitt, African National Congress, Johnny Makatini, Danny Davis, South African Trade Union Council, Dennis Brutus, Jesse Jackson, Nelson Mandela, International Business Machines Corporation


Political Science | Political Theory | Race and Ethnicity | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Work, Economy and Organizations


Length: 77 minutes

Oral history interview of Curtis Black by Jeremy Alexander Cairns

In his interview, Curtis Black details his childhood and early college years at the University of Chicago. He explains how he became involved in the anti-apartheid movement in 1979 while covering divestment for the Chicago Maroon and, soon after, joining the Action Committee on South Africa, a student organization that campaigned to get the University of Chicago to divest from stock of corporations doing business in South Africa. He notes an especially significant piece he wrote in 1985, interviewing Prexy Nesbitt, that gave a comprehensive view of the apartheid. He outlines the historical progression of the movement, the creation of the Free South Africa Movement, the sit-ins at the South African Embassy, and the new wave of protests in South Africa. Curtis touches on the other social justice movements he’s covered as a journalist and reflects on the future of both South Africa and the U.S.

Biography and Comments

Curtis Black is a journalist and editor who has written about and supported social justice movements for much of his career. He has written for the Chicago Maroon, Haymarket, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Defender, Chicago Reader, In These Times, Time Magazine, Huffington Post, and Truthout. He was involved with the South Africa anti-apartheid movement since he was an undergraduate student at the University of Chicago.

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 Curtis Black.pdf (197 kB)



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