Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement

Document Type



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Publication Date

Fall 2009


African National Congress, Claremont College, Angela Davis, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, National Lawyers Guild, Prexy Nesbitt, Unaio Nacional para a Independencia Total de Angola, University of California Los Angeles, Harold Washington


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


Length: 69 minutes

Oral history interview of Tim Wright by Jonathen Vogel

Tim Wright was involved in activism and the Anti-apartheid movement since college. He tells of when, while attending UCLA, he was involved in the divestment movement to prevent universities from cooperating with the African regime. He describes his time working as a research assistant with Angela Davis and their time in Angola, South Africa to learn more about the conflict first-hand, where he met Prexy Nesbitt, who became a close colleague. Wright describes his time working with Harold Washington and his administration, taking part initially as a volunteer in his campaign for mayor of Chicago, to assistant to the chief of staff, deputy director of intergovernmental affairs, special counsel to the mayor, and commissioner of economic development for the city. He recalls representing anti-Apartheid protestors while teaching a class at Columbia College, when he involved the students in preparing the legal defense. Wright also mentions his work with Carol Mosley Braun, a state representative, to draft divestment legislation for the state of Illinois, which was passed. He mentioned his time involved with the National Lawyers Guild and how they helped with the elections of South Africa.

Biography and Comments

Timothy Wright was born in 1955 in Los Angeles and raised in Compton, California to a family of seven children. He earned a dual bachelor’s in political science and economics from Claremont College, Juris Doctor from UCLA Law School, a Master of Divinity from the Chicago Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate in Ministry from McCormick Theological Seminary. He worked with the U.N. for the independence of several African countries, participated in negotiations in Cape Town for Mandela’s release, and served as an election monitor for South Africa’s first free elections. He has served as Director for the Southern African Economic Development Fund, Director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, and Chairman of the Sub-Saharan African Advisory Committee of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, among many other positions. He has served as a civil attorney in Chicago for many years. He is currently running for election for the 5th Subcircuit judge of the Cook County Judicial Circuit Court.

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.

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Interview with Tim Wright.pdf (173 kB)



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