Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement

Document Type



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Publication Date

Fall 2009


Alexandra Township, Black Panther Party, Chicago Freedom Movement, Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa, Church of the Brethren, Johannesburg (South Africa), Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X Junior College, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Prexy Nesbitt, Ronald Reagan, Harold Washington


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


Length: 92 minutes

Oral history interview of Mary Schott Boria by Pamela Birchard

Mary Scott Boria begin by detailing her childhood as the daughter of a divorced, interracial couple in the 1950s. She explains how at the age of 14, she packed a suitcase and joined her mother in Chicago where she participated in the Civil Rights Movement, joining the NAACP and, later, the Black Panther Party while in college. She recalls joining the Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa (CCISSA) in the 1980s, working toward the divestment of the Apartheid government, participating in demonstrations, helping put together newsletters, organizing meetings, and hosting South African activists in Chicago. She mentions the Church of the Brethren and the rarity of her church’s chapter as well as their work in the Synapsis organization. She recalls the appearance of Martin Luther King Jr. at a Chicago Freedom Movement. She mentions the role models, such as Harold Rogers and Prexy Nesbitt, who coached her through her activism and those who brought the South Africa government’s actions to her attention. She recaps the workforce of Chicago in the late 70s and the hoops she went through to get and keep a job, while describing the environment of Chicago during that time.

Biography and Comments

Mary Scott Boria was born in Battle Creek, Michigan in 1950. She holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago Illinois and a MAT from McCormick Theological Seminary. Mary has over 50 years of experience working with Chicago communities as a professional social worker and human services administrator in several not-for-profit organizations. She has served as the founding executive director of the Chicago Sexual Assault Services Network, director of Women’s Services for the Metropolitan YWCA, director of Youth Services Project (YSP), a founding executive member of the Cook County Democratic Women, and as director of the Urban Studies Program of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. She has worked with the Black Panther Party, the Christian Peacemaker Teams, the Anti-Racism Institute of Clergy and Laity Concerned, the Mikva Challenge Foundation, the Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers (CLAIM), and many other organizations.

The interviewer conducted this oral history as part of his/her coursework for the Fall 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 Mary Scott Boria.pdf (204 kB)



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