Boston Coalition for the Liberation of Southern Africa collection Edit

Summary

Identifier
MSS 282 large

Dates

  • approximately 1970-1990 (Creation)

Extents

  • 2 Linear Feet (Whole)
    3 boxes

Subjects

Notes

  • Scope and Contents

    Records of the Boston Coalition for the Liberation of Southern Africa (BCLSA) and similar Massachusetts organizations. The collection includes flyers, posters, newsletters, pamphlets, research papers, internal strategy reports, correspondence, press clippings, slide-cassette kits (on Angola, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Women Under Apartheid, First National Bank of Boston and Massachusetts South Africa Connection), a cloth banner (U.S. Out of El Salvador and South Africa) and tablecloth/hanging (Independence 18th April 1980 Zimbabwe). Also includes material of some other Massachusetts and Boston area groups including: MassDivest, Polaroid Revolutionary Workers’ Movement (Polaroid camera systems were used for the pass system in South Africa); Winnie Mandela Solidarity Coalition; Gulf Boycott Coalition (between 1972-5 boycotts of Gulf gasoline over company support for the Portuguese colonial regime in Angola); Southern Africa Solidarity Coalition. BCLSA stopped meeting as a separate organization in the mid- 1980s and members joined other groups in the Boston area, primarily FreeSA and TransAfrica. Correspondents include: NAACP, American Committee on Africa, Rev. Jonathan Robinson, Richard Clapp. Senator Jack Backman, Barbara B. Brown, State Senator Arthur Joseph Lewis, Boston City Hospital Employees Local 1489, International Ladies Garment Workers Union (New England Region).

  • Biographical / Historical

    Description: Formed after the Soweto uprising, between 1977 and 1980 BCLSA focused on the ties between the First National Bank of Boston to the Standard Bank of South Africa, as well as its red-lining policies and support for nuclear power in the U.S. In 1980 it helped form MassDivest, which led the campaign to divest the state pension from companies doing business in South Africa. In January 1983 the legislature passed a comprehensive divestment bill that became a model for other states. The collection includes material of other Massachusetts organizations. The anti-apartheid activists who eventually formed BCLSA came from groups such as the Africa Research Group, whose Boston members were active in the early 1970s, and the Southern Africa Solidarity Committee, which organized on the Harvard-Radcliffe campus in the mid-1970s. The collection includes material from other Boston area organizations including the Polaroid Revolutionary Workers’ Movement which drew attention to the Polaroid camera systems being used in the pass system in South Africa, the Gulf Boycott Coalition which between 1972-1975 was active in promoting the boycott of Gulf gasoline because of the company’s support for the Portuguese colonial regime in Angola, the Southern Africa Solidarity Coalition and MassDivest which led the successful campaign for state divestment. BCLSA stopped meeting as a separate organization in the mid-1980s and various members joined with other activities by other groups in the Boston area, primarily FreeSA and TransAfrica. FreeSA continued to do fund-raising events and supported non-governmental organizations active in South Africa in the late 1980s. Other activities that followed the institution of U.S. sanctions in the 1980s included meetings of health care professionals and formation of a Boston chapter of the Committee for Health in South Africa (CHISA), the mobilization of support for Nelson Mandela’s visit to Boston in 1990, and the development of a “sister state” agreement between Massachusetts and the Eastern Cape in the mid-1990s. Papers collected by Richard Clapp and Barbara Brown.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open for research.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    The material is stored off site. Please request 3 working days in advance if you wish to use it.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    Copyright is retained by the author of the items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    Folder 1 has note: "full use for short quotes and for educational and non-profit use, without permission. Otherwise, permission required."

  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Papers collected by Richard Clapp, Barbara Brown and David Massey, donated in 2005.

  • Arrangement

    The materials are arranged by format.

  • General

    Forms part of the African Activist Archive.

  • General

    Records of the Boston Coalition for the Liberation of Southern Africa (BCLSA) and similar Massachusetts organizations.

  • Varying Form of Title

    African Activist Archive.

  • Preferred Citation

    Item, Folder number and/or title, Box number, Boston Coalition for the Liberation of Southern Africa collection, MSS 284, Special Collections, MSU Libraries, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

  • Processing Information

    The BCLSA collection was processed by Peter Limb and Kassy Fineout in 2008 and revised in 2017 by Lydia Tang.

Components