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Table of Contents

Contact Infomation:

Special Collections

MSU Libraries

366 W. Circle Drive

East Lansing, MI 48824



URL: http://specialcollections.lib.msu.edu

Date Received:


Date Processed:


Acquisitions Information:


Preferred Citation:

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Box number, Folder number and/or title, Boston Coalition for the Liberation of Southern Africa, MSS 284, Special Collections, MSU Libraries, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Copyright Notice:

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

Usage Restrictions:

There are no restrictions on the access of this collection.

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

Photoduplication Restrictions:

Contact Special Collections

Collection Summary:

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).  Forms part of the African Activist Archive.  Papers collected by Richard Clapp, Barbara Brown and David Massey.

Historical Background:

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.

Processing Note:

The BCLSA Papers were processed by Peter Limb and Kassy Fineout (2008).


Series 1: Organization Activities

Box Folder Folder/Description
1 1 BCLSA [general]:

  • Correspondence with Operations Crossroads Africa, James H. Robinson, Barbara B. Brown, Richard P. Unsworth
  • Papers on Gulf Oil
  • Clippings on Polaroid 1970-1
  • Flyers of Research Group for the Liberation of Portuguese Africa in California, American Committee on Africa
  • Polaroid Revolutionary Workers Movement flyers and press releases 1970-1
  • Statement to UN Special Committee on Apartheid Feb. 3 1971
  • Gulf Oil memo
  • National Movement against Apartheid circular 1971
  • Community Change circular
  • United Black Appeal
  • Handwritten notes on Gulf Angola Project
Box Folder Folder/Description
1 2 BCLSA anti-apartheid materials: consists of 7 pamphlets:

(i) April 4, 1985 National Protest Day for South African Divestment in Commemoration of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (4 p.)

(ii) Polaroid and South Africa (Africa Research Group in collaboration with the Polaroid Revolutionary Workers Movement, 21 March 1971)(ca. 20 pp.)

(iii) Anti-apartheid organizing on campus … and beyond.  Palo Alto, Calif.; Amherst, Mass.:  The South Africa Catalyst Project, [1979] (77 p.)

(iv) Tales from a tragic land (New York: United Church Board, [1972?], (28 pp.)

(v) G. Fasulo, The Powers behind Apartheid (Cambridge Mass.: Africa Research Group, [1970?]) (22 p.)

(vi) South Africa and Israel (Madison, Wis.: Madison Area Committee on Southern Africa, 1971) 2d ed. (43 pp.)

(vii) Israel – South Africa:  cooperation of imperialistic outposts / [Richard P. Stevens … et al.] Bonn: Progress Dritte Welt, [1976?] (99 pp.)

Box Folder Folder/Description
1 3 BCLSA leaflets/posters:

  • Sharpeville Day poster, Cambridge Mass.
  • Massachusetts Out of South Africa
  • An Evening in Solidarity with SWAPO … 8 December 1982
  • Apartheid on Sale at Merill, Lynch … Boston … 24 February [1983]
  • First National Bank of Boston Means Oppression in South Africa and Cutbacks for Boston
Box Folder Folder/Description
1 4 BCLSA Newsletters:

  • Issues for Oct. 1978, Dec. 1978, Oct., Dec. 1979, Feb., Apr., Oct. 1980, Jan. 1981, Mar. 1982
  5 BCLSA outreach contacts
  6 BCLSA research papers:
  • First National Bank of Boston: A Case Study [by Richard Clapp & David Massey] 18 pp.
  • Boston University African Studies seminar paper on the same topic, 3 Nov. 1980 13 pp.
  7 First National Bank slide show [notes and script]
Box Folder Folder/Description
1 8 History of Mass Divest:

    Draft, 1/21/83, 15 pp., typescript

  • Final version with cover, Massachusetts’ Divestment Bill: A Brief History by MassDivest, April 1983, 10 pp.
  • ACOA “Make it in Massachusetts, Not in South Africa,” 4 pp.
Box Folder Folder/Description
1 9 Mass Divest 1982 campaign (flyers, endorsers, notes, and “Draft Evaluation of MassDivest Campaign for 1981 and Recommendations for 1982” typescript, 5 pp.
  10 Mass Divest Correspondence (Correspondents include NAACP, Rev. Jonathan Robinson, Roxbury Ma., Richard Clapp, Senator Jack Backman, Barbara B. Brown, State Senator Arthur Joseph Lewis, Boston City Hospital Employees Local 1489, Carl L. Proper (International Ladies Garment Workers Union, New England Region), Springfield Committee to End Apartheid)
  11 Mass Divest Iowa trip
  12 Mass Divest flyers/leaflets/posters
  13 MassDivest legislation
  14 MassDivest press clippings
  15 MassDivest research
  16 Winnie Mandela Solidarity Coalition

Series 2: Slides, Cassettes

Box Folder Folder/Description
1 -- Slides:

i. Angola Slide Show part 1 of 2

ii. Angola Slide Show part 2 of 2

iii. Extra Zimbabwean and South Africa

iv. Extra Zimbabwean slides, including South Africa and Angola slides

v. FNBB slides (script and tape)

vi. FNBB slides [3/4]

2 --
vii. “Forget Not Our Sisters:  Women Under Apartheid” Tray 1 of 2

viii. “Forget Not Our Sisters: Women Under Apartheid” Tray 2 of 2

ix. Massachusetts South Africa Connection

Box Folder Folder/Description
1 -- Cassettes:

i. Banking on Apartheid (final version)

ii. Massachusetts—South Africa Connection copy 1

iii. Massachusetts South Africa Connection (with cutes) tape 1 of 2

iv. Massachusetts South Africa Connection tape 2 of 2

v. Story of Angola

vi. ZAC slide show

Series 3: Cloth

Box Folder Folder/Description
1 -- Cloth:

i. Independence 18th April 1980 Zimbabwe [tablecloth/cloth]

ii. U.S. Out of El Salvador and South Africa [banner]

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