Nelson Mandela, South Africa, Anti-Apartheid, Chicago, Labor, Union, Detroit, Illinois Labor Network Against Apartheid
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: 56 minutes
Oral history interview of Mike Siviwe Elliott by Brian Gibson.
Mr. Elliott begins by recounting his childhood in Detroit, raised in a working-class union neighborhood on the west side of the city. He talks about his early challenges in school, attending an alternative school where he received his GED, then attending Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan where he studied political science for three years. He explains how he first became involved in activism, working for the Black Panthers when he was young and serving as chair of the Association of Black Students in college. He recalls how he came to Chicago through his work with the Ford Motor Company. He explains how he first learned about Apartheid through the Black Panthers’ newspaper and how he became actively involved in the movement after moving to Chicago, where he joined the Illinois Labor Network Against Apartheid and the Chicago Committee in Support of Southern Africa. He recalls testifying for divestment before the city’s Finance Committee and his attempts to convince alderman Ed Burke and other aldermen. He discusses the various anti-Apartheid organizations and the relationships between them. He explains how the federal administrations in the U.S. never supported the anti-Apartheid movement. He recalls meeting Nelson Mandela during a rally organized by the Illinois Labor Network. He talks about the South Africa music of the period that supported the movement. He recalls the work he continued after the elections in South Africa and his visit to the country. Finally, he reflects on how his involvement in the anti-Apartheid movement influenced his life and its influence on his family.
Gibson, Brian. "Interview with Michael Elliott" (Spring 2009). Oral Histories, Chicago Anti-Apartheid Collection, College Archives & Special Collections, Columbia College Chicago. http://digitalcommons.colum.edu/cadc_caam_oralhistories/33
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