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Danny Schechter Africa Research Group collection

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 333 large
The collection consists of correspondence, administrative records such as budgets, governance documents and prospectuses, and manuscript drafts and publications created by the Africa Research Group, Danny Schecter, and others. There is also a collection of research files consisting of reports, essays and articles, and a collection of non-AFG publications and news clippings.

Dates

  • approximately 1961-1977

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Access The material is stored offsite in Remote Storage. Please contact Special Collections 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.

Extent

1 Linear Feet (1 box) : 92 folders

Biographical / Historical

The Africa Research Group was an independent research and education collective concerned with promoting a more informed critical understanding of the United States policy with Africa through inter-related programs of research, information dissemination, and action.

Danny Schecter (1942-2015) was a champion of human rights and an author, journalist, filmmaker and television producer. He produced an award-winning public television series, “South Africa Now” and the Emmy-winning ABC New program “20/20.” A graduate of Cornell, Schecter became involved with the antiapartheid movement while earning a master’s degree at the London School of Economics. In a 2013 interview, shortly after the death of Nelson Mandela - about whom Schecter had made several films and written extensively - Schecter talked about his time in London and South Africa, and the formation of the Africa Research Group:

"Well, you know, I had the fortune of being at the London School of Economics in the '60s, at the right place at the right time, where the ANC people had come into exile. And in my class was a remarkable woman, Ruth First, who became sort of my mentor about South Africa. And I was recruited by the ANC to go into South Africa. They couldn't get their people in because so many of them were in prison and well known to the security police. So, people from England, what were then called the "London recruits," were sent into South Africa on various missions. I was one of them—naive, perhaps, to do this, unaware, really, of the consequences that awaited me if I was—if I was caught. But I went anyway as an act of solidarity.

I went to the funeral of the late Chief Luthuli, who was the leader of the ANC before Mandela. And I, you know, got an insight into how vicious the apartheid system was, how pervasive it was in people’s lives. It wasn’t just about race. It was about controlling people as labor, as a labor force in South Africa. This was always about economics, not just pigment. And Americans make the mistake of, you know, confusing what was happening in South Africa with the civil rights movement in America where people fought to have the Constitution apply to them. In South Africa, there was no constitution, and there were no rights for a majority, not a minority, of people. And so I experienced that upfront and personally, in a way, but it also kind of got me involved deeply in South Africa. And years later, not only did I write about South Africa and was one of the organizers of the Africa Research Group in Boston, but I became active in a project called "Sun City: Artists Against Apartheid." And, you know, just to supplement what Randall Robinson told you earlier, this was not all about lobbying Congress. This was about informing America about what was happening. And in some cases, it was cultural figures, 58 of the world’s top artists who indicted the system of forced relocation in South Africa. That’s what Sun City was all about. It was a part of an effort to promote a cultural boycott alongside an economic boycott. And it was very successful and worldwide in its impact. And I think that was important.

And then, you know, I helped start the TV series, South Africa Now, that ran for 156 weeks, every week, in the United States, reporting on South Africa through the eyes of South Africans. It was their story." -- From “Remembering Danny Schechter, The News Dissector: Pioneering Journalist, Filmmaker and Activist.” March 20, 2015. Democracy Now! [http://www.democracynow.org/2015/3/20/remembering_danny_schechter_the_news_dissector]

The Africa Research Group described themselves as “a radical research and educational organization committed to promoting a more informed concern with, and protest against the role the US plays in the domination of Africa.” Active from approximately 1968 – 1972, they published their own newsletters and pamphlets and contributed articles to other publications. As an organizer of the Africa Research Group, Schecter was responsible for research, writing, correspondence and internal governance matters, as evidenced by this collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated by Danny Schechter in 2009.

Processing Information

Source consulted in the creation of this finding aid: The Africa Research Group Prospectus and Proposal, 1971.
Title
Finding Aid for the Danny Schechter Africa Research Group collection
Status
Cataloged
Author
Anne-Marie Rachmann
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections Repository

Contact:
MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing MI 48824 USA
517.884.6471