Harry Belafonte, Rivonia trial, Congress of Racial Equality, Preston Wilcox, City University of New York, Students, Political activity, Northwestern University, South Africa, Soweto Uprising, Nigeria, Coalition for Illinois' Divestment from South Africa, Prexy Nesbitt, Carole Thompson, Kevin Thompson, Ora Schub, Carol Moseley-Braun, Chester A. Crocker, AFSCME, Charlie Hayes, African National Congress, Salih Booker, Randall Robinson, Chicago Defender, Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Trinity United Church of Christ, Arthur Ashe, Arthur, Athletes and Artists Against Apartheid, Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa, Lisa Brock, Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Black Metropolis Research Consortium
Political Science | Political Theory | Race and Ethnicity | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Work, Economy and Organizations
Length: 57 minutes
Oral history interview of Cheryl Johnson-Odim by Carrie Armbruster
Johnson-Odim describes her introduction to South African Apartheid in junior high school through her music teacher, S. Carol Buchanan, who was good friends with the musical director for Harry Belafonte. After auditioning and being chosen to sing on his album, “The Streets I’ve Walked,” Belafonte took Johnson and the other singers to watch South African Boot Dancers, who later went to teach the students about the apartheid regime in South Africa. She describes how her involvement in the civil rights of African Americans and the rights of women in the United States was interwoven with her involvement in the Anti-apartheid movement. She mentions movements to boycott South African lobster tails and Krugerrands from being sold in the United States and assisting students’ efforts to push Northwestern University to divest funds from South Africa. She recalls her time as a leading member of the Coalition for Illinois Divestment from South Africa, as both an educator and an activist, and how she traveled with others to hold meetings about the Chicago divestment efforts. She also describes working with legislators, union workers, church leaders, South Africans, and political representatives from the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan-African Congress (PAC) as hosts to unify efforts. She describes acting as a key figure in organizing the Free South Africa Movement in response to the arrest of TransAfrica leaders. She mentions working with the American Federation of County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), TransAfrica, and CCISSA.
Armbruster, Carrie. "Interview with Cheryl Johnson-Odim" (Fall2009). Oral Histories, Chicago Anti-Apartheid Collection, College Archives & Special Collections, Columbia College Chicago. http://digitalcommons.colum.edu/cadc_caam_oralhistories/9
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