Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement

Document Type



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Publication Date

Fall 2009


AFSCME, Coalition of Labor Union Women (U.S.), Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (U.S.), Cosatu, Illinois Labor Network Against Apartheid, International Union, United Automobile Workers of America (CIO), William Lucy, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Shell Oil Company, United Steel Workers, Harold Washington


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


Length: 71 minutes

Oral history interview of Rosetta Daylie by Sarah Bonkowski

Rosetta Daylie begins by recounting her childhood on the South Side of Chicago, raised by a politically active family. She recalls her initial work in food service at the Illinois Visually Handicapped Institution. She explains how she was working for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), a trade union of public employees, when she learned about the anti-Apartheid movement and the Illinois Labor Network Against Apartheid (ILLNAA. She describes her work with ILLNAA and the Coalition of Black Trade Labor Unionists, the Shell boycott she helped organize, and the protests at the South African Consulate where she and other protesters were arrested. She recalls witnessing the elections for Mandela in South Africa, the tensions before election day, the emotional reactions of the people waiting to vote, and the massive celebrations that followed. She describes her experience meeting Mandela and his wife and the other individuals she met in South Africa. She reflects on what she hopes her children learned from her activism work and the family members that influenced her in that direction early on. She explains why Harold Washington was so important to her and her community. She concludes by discussing the volunteer work she does at present.

Biography and Comments

Rosetta Daylie was born in 1939 on Chicago’s South Side. She attended St. George Elementary School, St. Dominic’s High School and the Loop Junior College (now Harold Washington College). She has worked as a trade unionist and representative for the labor movement since the 1960s. She has served as the associate director for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), she has served on the boards of several labor organizations, including the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Chicago Federation of Labor, the Black United Fund of Illinois, the Coalition of Labor Union Women. She served on Mayor Harold Washington’s Mayor’s Advisory Council on Women, she co-chaired the Chicago South Side Branch of the NAACP’s 46th annual Freedom Fund Dinner, and she served as a trade union observer for the first democratic South African election in 1994. She is the recipient of numerous labor-related awards. She continues her volunteer work in retirement for both the labor movement and for her church, Christ Universal Temple.

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 Rosetta Daylie.pdf (217 kB)



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