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MSS 371

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Table of Contents

Contact Infomation:

Special Collections

MSU  Libraries

366 W. Circle Drive

East Lansing, MI, 48824

517 884-64671


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

Date Received:


Date Processed:

February 2014

Acquisitions Information:

Donated by Prexy Nesbitt

Preferred Citation:

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information:  Box number, Folder number and/or title, Prexy Nesbitt T-shirt collection , MSS 371, 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.

Photoduplication Restrictions:

Contact Special Collections

Collection Summary:

There are 28 unique shirts in this collection. There are two copies of two of the shirts and three copies of one other shirt. The shirts concern South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola, and Africa. Many were produced in the United States; some were produced in South Africa, and the creators of some are still unknown. Most of the shirts have been digitized and are displayed on the African Activist Archive website, with images of both the full shirts and enlarged images of graphics or text on the front or back.

Historical Background:

The second half of the 20th century was a tumultous time in the Southern African region. This was mostly due to the racial segregation and discrimination as part of the apartheid system. Many foreigners were outraged at these injustices and organized reactionary groups to protest. In the United States, groups encouraged American companies to divest from Africa and called for the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. This collection of t-shirts represents just one of the avenues that activists took to protest the injustices.

Processing Note:

Processed by Jillian C. Coy, February 2014.


1White t-shirtReads "75 - ANC - Advance to People's Power - 1912-1987 (front)"; Commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the African National Congress of South Africa, founded in 1912; 2 copies (one has "ADVANCE TO PEOPLE'S POWER!" on back, the other does not)
Yellow t-shirtReads "Illinois Out of South Africa - Divest Now. Coalition for Illinois Divestment from South Africa"; 3 copies
White t-shirtReads "An Injury to One is an Injury to All (front) / Illinois Labor Network Against Apartheid (back)"; Design is graphic of three men. Expressed support of the labor movement in Illinois with COSATU, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, which was formed in 1985.
Yellow t-shirtReads "Labour Says … Sanctions NOW; South African Congress of Trade Unions"; Shirt label reads "ILGWU Canada CLC union label." ILGWU is the former union, the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union in the U.S. and Canada.
Blue t-shirtReads "Abolish Apartheid, Divest Now"; Graphic shows chain from Connecticut to South Africa, with a dollar sign in the United States
White t-shirtReads "Ceasar, Spring 1977"
Yellow t-shirtReads "Stop Bank Loans to South Africa, Clergy & Laity Concerned"; The symbol on this shirt was the logo of the national Campaign to Oppose Bank Loans to South Africa.
White t-shirtReads "U.S. Out of South Africa NOW (front) / DIVEST (back)"; "S.A." identified on map of Africa (back)
White t-shirtReads "Divest Now!"; IU is the monogram of Indiana University
White t-shirtReads "Nkosi! The Healing Song; 95th anniversary of Nkosi Sikelel' i-(image of Africa)"; "Nkosi! The Healing Song" is the title of a play by Mothobi Mutlloatse about Mankayi Enoch Sontonga, who wrote the song "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" in 1897
White t-shirtReads "Detroit; Amandla Ngawethu! Power to the People; June 28, 1990; Welcome Mandela; South Africa (front) / Amandla! Freedom Ain't Free! (back)"; Made for the visit of Nelson Mandela to Detroit on his first trip to the United States after being released from prison in February 1990; 2 copies
White t-shirtReads "Nelson Mandela is Free; ANC Says Free South Africa Now (front) / "ANC Lives, ANC Leads; South African People Give Thanks For Your Support (back)"; Probably produced shortly after Mandela's release, publisher unknown but appears to have been made by the ANC.
White t-shirtReads "Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute with artists against apartheid in support of the anti apartheid movement; Wembley Stadium Saturday 11 June (back)"; T-shirt promoted large concert in Wembley Stadium in London celebrating Mandela's 70th birthday on June 11, It lists the artists, including Phil Collins, Joe Cocker, Natalie Cole, and many others. The concert, which was broadcast to 67 countries, also called for Mandela's release from prison.
2White t-shirtReads "Release Nelson Mandela"
Red t-shirtReads "DPSC; DESCOM (front)/ Release our people (back); "DPSC" is Detainees' Parents Support Committee. "DESCOM" is Detainees Support Committee
Red t-shirtReads "Mandela Must Be Free - SASPU National"; The shirt design is the image of the front page of the SASPU National, vol 2 no 1, published in February 1981. SASPU was the South African Students Press Union
White t-shirtReads "Republic of Namibia 21 March 1990"; Shirt commemorates independence of Namibia and the flag adopted by the new nation
White t-shirtReads "Zimbabwe Independence 1980"; The design shows the flag of the Republic of Zimbabwe, which was adopted on April 18, 1980
White t-shirtReads "Zimbabwe"; Front design is a colorful print of women and animals. The Zooloo logo appears on the left sleeve
White t-shirtReads "Viva Mozambique!"; Front print done by Malangatana Ngwenya, who was born in 1936, is a well-known Mozambican painter and poet
White t-shirt Reads "Mozambique Support Network"; Image of three dancing women
White t-shirtReads "From Massachusetts to Mozambique"; Image of dancing women
White t-shirtReads "Mozambique: A Luta Continua"
Blue t-shirtReads Dezembro 78 - Festa i'Aniu; MPLA - Partido do Trabalho MPLA"; "Festa" in Portuguese is "feast".
White t-shirtReads "Angola - Mozambique - Nicaragua; No more Contras Anywhere; Venceremos Brigade"; Image of a silhouetted soldier with a red line through it. In 1988 the Venceremos Brigade went to Cuba under the slogan "No More Contras Anywhere".
White t-shirtReads "Think Africa - It's Our Struggle, Too!"; Design shows four hands holding water, earth, wind, and fire, surrounding an image of Africa
White t-shirtReads "The World According to Ronald Reagan"; In this political cartoon of a world of the map, Africa is divided into "Lybian Terrorists," "Cuban Mercenaries," and "White Folks".
White t-shirtReads "America is like a melting pot - the people at the bottom get burned and the scum floats to the top" - Charlie King; Pointing to the top are the names Ollie North, Meese, Quayle, Bush, Ron, Nancy

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