Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement

Document Type



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Publication Date

Spring 2010


African American Studies | African History | African Languages and Societies | American Politics | Civic and Community Engagement | Cultural History | History | Inequality and Stratification | International Relations | Other Political Science | Place and Environment | Political History | Political Science | Political Theory | Race and Ethnicity | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Work, Economy and Organizations


Length: 67 minutes

Oral history interview of Danny Davis by Terence Sims

Dr. Davis begins by outlining his introduction into activism and politics, when he served as executive director for the Greater Lawndale Conservation Commission in 1968. He explains how his definition of apartheid, which he is still fighting against, encompasses the massive underrepresentation of Black Americans in U.S. government positions. He details his childhood in rural Arkansas, growing up with ten siblings on a farm. He recalls early figures in the Civil Rights Movement in Arkansas, like the Little Rock Nine and Martin Luther King, Jr. He explains how he came to Chicago for work and became involved with the movement personally, attending demonstrations and meetings with the Black Panther Party. He recalls the impact of a number of major events of the era, including the assassination of Dr. King and the 1968 Democratic National Convention. He tells of how he became involved with the anti-apartheid movement, protesting at the South African consulate, holding meetings at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and introducing a resolution to the Chicago City Council to divest from companies doing business with the Apartheid government. Finally, he reflects on the continued inequality in South Africa and the relationships he built then that have enriched his life personally and professionally.

Biography and Comments

Danny K. Davis, currently the U.S. representative for Illinois's 7th congressional district, began his political career in 1979 when he was elected to the Chicago City Council. He was born in Parkdale, Arkansas and has lived primarily in Chicago since 1961. He holds a BA in history from University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, an MS in guidance from Chicago State University, and a doctorate in public administration from the Union Institute & University.

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 Danny Davis.pdf (222 kB)



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