Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement

Document Type



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Publication Date

Spring 2009


John F. Kennedy, Civil rights movements, Prexy Nesbitt, Prexy, Labor movement, Desmond Tutu, African National Congress, Harold Washington, Diamonds, South Africa, Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Coalition of Labor Union Women (U.S.), International Metalworkers’ Federation, Cosatu, Nelson Mandela, International Union, United Automobile Workers of America (CIO)


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


Length: 112 minutes

Oral history interview of Kathy Devine by Deseree Zimmerman

In this interview, Kathleen Devine recounts her political interests and activist work in the anti-Apartheid movement. She begins with recounting her childhood in Chicago and how she first became aware of the political and social realities of the day, with the assassination of JFK and witnessing the Civil Rights Movement. She discusses her time at St. Louis University, George Washington University, and how she came to work for the Department of Treasury. She explains how, when she returned to Chicago, she learned of the anti-Apartheid movement through the union activism she was involved in and how she was asked to help coordinate the Labor Network Against Apartheid’s efforts. She describes the various some of the other labor and anti-Apartheid organizations she worked with, including the Coalition of Black Trade, The Coalition of Labor Union Women, and the International Metal Workers Confederation, and some of her responsibilities within them. She talks about raising funds through the unions to help fund Mandela’s election. She concludes by defining what activism is about for her, trying to make change and changing people’s views.

Biography and Comments

Kathleen Devine was born in Chicago in 1943 and raised in River Forest, Kathy attended Trinity High School, graduated from Saint Louis University with a bachelor's degree in political science, and attended George Washington University for a time, studying public affairs. She initially worked for the IRS in Washington, D.C., followed by Hull House and the State of Illinois' Office of Economic Opportunity. She worked with United Farm Workers and with the Labor Network Against Apartheid. She served as fundraiser and organizer for special events for countless non-profit organizations. She owned and operated The Devine Connection, providing assistance in planning and conducting campaigns, and creating and editing newsletters and websites for non-profit organizations and labor unions.

The interviewer conducted this oral history as part of his/her coursework for the Spring 2009 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 Kathy Devine.pdf (210 kB)



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