About the Collection
An element of the Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement Collection, the Rozell (Prexy) Nesbitt Collection is comprised of materials related to Nesbitt's time as an anti-apartheid activist and labor organizer.
The Rozell (Prexy) Nesbitt Collection online inventory guide shows the contents of the collection held at Columbia College Chicago. Please contact us with any questions.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Prexy Nesbitt was educated at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio. He went on to attend the University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; Northwestern University, Illinois; and Columbia University, New York.
An activist and an educator, he has been highly active in labor, human rights, and equality movements. In 1970 he worked for the American Committee on Africa where he organized anti- apartheid groups in the Midwest. In 1978 he was named director of the Africa Project at the Institute of Policy Studies, Washington, D.C. and in 1979, became the program director and research secretary at the World Council of Churches, Geneva, Switzerland.
In 1986, Nesbitt returned to Chicago to continue his work as a labor organizer. In 1986, then Chicago mayor Harold Washington named him as a special aide and in 1987, the Mozambique government appointed him consultant to represent the country and its interests in the United States, Canada, and Europe, remaining in the post until 1992. In 1993, he served as the senior program officer with the Program on Peace and International Cooperation with the MacArthur Foundation, a position he held until 1996.
While working with the foundation, Nesbitt also taught in several different institutions: Francis W.Parker High School; the Associated Colleges of the Midwest; and Columbia College Chicago, where he continues to teach African and American history courses and has lectured and organized conferences throughout the United States and abroad.
In 2001, he was named the South African representative for the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, Johannesburg, South Africa as well as serving as the interim director for the American Friends Service Committee Africa Program. In 2003, he worked as the Senior Multiculturalism and Diversity Specialist at the Chicago Teachers Center, Northeastern Illinois University.
He has also served as consultant to the Francis W. Parker School, Chicago, the East Educational Collaborative, Washington, D.C., and the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and has also published a book and written articles that appeared in more than twenty international journals.
During his career, Nesbitt has traveled extensively, including numerous trips to South Africa, several of which were taken in secret so as to not alert members of the apartheid government.
Chicago Anti- Apartheid Movement Educational Boards features boards filled with posters, flyers, pamphlets and images designed to educate people at local events.
Oral History interviews including the Prexy Nesbitt interview conducted by faculty member Dr. Erin McCarthy, Associate Professor of History in the Department of Humanities, History and Social Sciences at Columbia College Chicago. This interview is one interview conducted for her class, The Art of the Interview, whose students interviewed members of the Chicago apartheid protest community.
Timeline of Apartheid in South Africa exhibit explains the history of the South African apartheid government.
African Political Posters collected by Chicago anti-apartheid activists
Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement Collection Highlights the grassroots organizations during the 1980s and 1990s that formed to protest international issues of apartheid and how activists operated to reach a common goal.
Cheryl Johnson-Odim Collection A Chicago area community activist and educator.
Orlando Redekopp Collection A Chicago area community activist and 1994 South African election observer.