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Patricia L. Beeman Southern Africa Liberation Committee (SALC) collection

Identifier: MSS 258 large

Scope and Contents

The Patricia L. Beeman Southern Africa Liberation Committee collection documents the work of the Southern Africa Liberation Committee (SALC), a highly successful community organization working at Michigan State University and in East Lansing from 1973 through 1997. The collection contains newspaper clippings, posters, artifacts, protest buttons and placards, clothing, videotapes, and books detailing SALC's educational and social action campaigns, including the "Bullard Banking Bills" by the Michigan State Legislature, the campaigns for the divestiture of Michigan State University, the MSU Foundation, the State of Michigan Pension Funds, and the "McGoff Off" campaign to have the McGoff name removed from the Wharton Center. Particularly extensive are newspaper clippings collected by Frank and Patricia Beeman from the national and local press describing conditions in Southern Africa and the local activities in response to those conditions. The books in this collection also outline the issues surrounding apartheid and resistance to it. The use of graphic arts to support these political and liberation activities is well illustrated by the numerous posters, protest buttons and T-shirts produced both by SALC and by international organizations supporting the liberation of Southern Africa.


  • Creation: 1973-1997

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

MSU: 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 authors of the items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. For photocopy and duplication requests, please contact the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections, Michigan State University Libraries.

Biographical / Historical

Patricia L. Beeman (b. 1925, d. 1996), of East Lansing, was a passionate friend of Africa and of racial justice in Southern Africa and the United States. From the 1970s to the 1990s, she and her husband, H. Frank Beeman, worked tirelessly for social justice in Southern Africa. In that work, they provided extensive opportunities for education about Southern Africa and numerous examples of social activism on issues related to that region. The Beemans were among the founders of the Southern Africa efforts of the Peace Education Center in East Lansing, Michigan and of the Southern Africa Liberation Committee (SALC) at Michigan State University. For more than twenty years, they campaigned tirelessly for anti-apartheid resolutions and legislation -- on campus, in local city and county government, in the state legislature, and at the national level.

In the early 1970s, Patricia Beeman became involved with SALC, a group at MSU composed of students, faculty and staff concerned with the liberation of southern Africa from white minority rule. SALC worked to educate the university community about Southern African independence movements and campaigned for the passage of the East Lansing Selective Purchasing Resolution in 1977 that prohibited the City of East Lansing from using suppliers with linkages to South Africa. In 1978, SALC campaigned to cause MSU to divest of its stock in companies with subsidiaries in South Africa, making MSU one of the earliest major universities in the United States to take such action. From 1978 to 1982, SALC worked closely with Senator Jackie Vaughn, Representative Virgil Smith, and Representative Perry Bullard on a resolution calling for national sanctions against South Africa and a series of divestiture bills for the State of Michigan. From 1979 to 1984 SALC campaigned for the removal of the McGoff name from the Festival Stage of the Wharton Center for Performing Arts due to John McGoff’s public support of the apartheid South African government. This campaign also resulted in 1983 in a change in the university policy for naming buildings. In 1986, SALC publicly encouraged the MSU Foundation to divest its holdings of stocks of companies operating in South Africa. These campaigns along with parallel actions throughout the world provided international support for the internal struggle for majority rule in Southern and South Africa.

In addition to this social activism, Patricia Beeman organized SALC's numerous education activities, such as annual film series, on-campus speakers from southern Africa, photographic exhibitions, and an information table in the International Center for the distribution of books, pamphlets, posters, and flyers. Patricia Beeman’s life provides an inspiring model for community organizing to produce positive social changes that enhance human dignity. As her husband Frank once put it, “Pat felt that if people understood the horrors of apartheid, they would want to remove their support for such an unjust system.”


20 Linear Feet (36 boxes) ; Boxes 1-24: 5x10x12 Boxes 25-28: 5x10x15 Box 29: 9x12x3 Boxes 30-33: 3x13x18 Boxes 34-36: 3x21x24.75

Language of Materials



The collection has been organized into seven series: Information Packets, Legislation & Political Activities, Organization Records, Subject Files, Publications, and Posters & Artifacts.

Series 1, Information Packets, is arranged chronologically. The Information Packets are photocopies assembled in notebooks by SALC for distribution at meetings, such as at the MSU Board of Trustees meetings. The titles listed are copied from the titles printed on the notebook covers.

Series 2, Legislation & Political Activities, is arranged chronologically, and is comprised of information collected and created for the various political activities in which SALC participated and for the various pieces of legislation that SALC supported.

Series 3, Organizational records, is arranged chronologically, and is comprised of correspondence to and from SALC, minutes and notes from meetings, membership lists, and financial records.

Series 4, Subject Files, is arranged alphabetically, and is comprised of information collected by SALC on various subjects of interest.

Series 5, Publications, is arranged alphabetically and contains publications, such as newsletters and catalogs, from other organizations. The books and videotapes in this series have been cataloged in the MSU Libraries online catalog and are shelved separately in the American Radicalism Collection.

Series 6, Newspaper Clippings, is arranged chronologically, except for a few subject folders. It is comprised of newspaper clippings on apartheid, divestment, South Africa, Namibia, Southern Africa, and the international anti-apartheid movement, collected by the Beemans in support of SALC activities.

Series 7, Posters and Artifacts, is arranged by the type and size of the artifact, and is comprised of posters produced and used by SALC (particularly for their campus film series), and objects, such as clothing and protest buttons, created by SALC.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Archive deposited by Harris F. "Frank" Beeman.

Varying Form of Title

Southern Africa Liberation Committee collection.

Varying Form of Title

SALC collection.

Varying Form of Title

African Activist Archive.

Processing Information

Processed by Lisa Robinson on June 24, 2004.

Finding Aid for the Patricia L. Beeman Southern Africa Liberation Committee collection
4 Published And Cataloged
Finding aid prepared by MarcEdit.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections Repository

MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing MI 48823 USA