Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement

Document Type



Media is loading

Publication Date

Spring 2010


Southern Illinois University, Civil rights movement, Springboks (Rugby team), Fred Egan, Ferd, AIDS (Disease), ACT UP Chicago (Organization), Chicago (Ill.). Police Dept., Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Prexy Nesbitt, Nicaraugua, Harold Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela


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


Length: 97 minutes

Oral history interview of Jean Kracher by Michael Lee Johnson

Ms. Kracher explains how she first became involved in the anti-Apartheid movement after moving to New York where she was initially involved a number of different social justice causes. She mentions her arrest after chaining herself to the South African consulate door during a protest. She explains how most of her activism work largely revolved around the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s and the impact that some policies had on gay communities. She mentions how she started an organization called CFAR (Chicago For AIDS Rights), later renamed to ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), holding local and national demonstrations where they also put an emphasis on anti-imperialism. She explains how her organization hosted teach-ins relating to AIDS on an international level, which led to their dialogue with AIDS activists in South Africa. She elaborates on the kind of work they performed with intersecting communities.

Biography and Comments

Jean Kracher was born in 1957 in Chicago. She attended South Illinois University Carbondale. She has extensive experience in community organizing and nonprofit management and has been involved in numerous social justice and humanitarian organizations, including the New Movement in Solidarity with Puerto Rican Independence and Socialism, the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee, and the Aids Coalition to Unleash Power, the latter of which she co-founded. She was the 2008 recipient of the Louis T. Delgado Social Justice in Philanthropy Award from the Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy Sector Program at Loyola University Chicago. She served as executive director of Women in the Director’s Chair, and as a member of the Women’s Health Education Project. She is currently the Executive Director for Crossroads Funds.

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 Jean Kracher.pdf (214 kB)



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.