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John Harrington's South Africa papers

Identifier: MSS 259 large

Scope and Contents

This collection of papers on the movement for divestment from apartheid South Africa focuses chiefly on California, but there also is material on Michigan (including MSU), Wisconsin, Connecticut, etc. Includes correspondence, reports, legislative bills, court records, memos, and articles and press clippings on the financial and legal aspects of investment in South Africa and divestiture from apartheid South Africa, as well as some anti-apartheid movement materials and photographs. It is arranged into 4 series: 1) Correspondence (1972-1991) 2) News Clippings and Press Releases 3) Visual Materials and 4) Publications, Personal Statements, and Legal Documents.

The John Harrington Archives is part of the African Activist Archive at MSU Libraries and is therefore complemented by other parts of this collection.


  • Creation: 1972-1995

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 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

John Harrington (b. 1956) was consultant to the Senate Select Committee on Investment Priorities and Objectives. In June 1972, John Harrington authored a legislative report for the Assembly Office of Research entitled “California’s Economic Involvement with Firms Operating in Southern Africa.” He also assisted the State Legislature’s Black Caucus draft divestment legislation. He subsequently authored additional legislative reports through the 1970s and early 1980s. He served as Chair of the Governor’s Public Investment Task Force under Governor Edmund Brown and submitted its final report in October 1981. As a publicly appointed trustee of the Sacramento City Employees, he presented documentation of U.S. corporate complicity in the deaths of hundreds of individuals in Southern Africa to the Sacramento Board of Administration, Investment and Fiscal Management. He testified before several state legislative bodies and provided expert testimony in an Oregon legal case. Authored “The Economics of Divestment” [sound recording, Pacifica Radio Archive, 1985] with Gay Seidman and Walter Turner.


5 Linear Feet (5 boxes) ; 27 x 40 x 13 cm.

Language of Materials



The material is arranged in four series: Series 1: Correspondence, 1972-1991; Series 2: News Clippings and Press Releases; Series 3: Visual Material; and Series 4: Publications, Personal Statements, and Legal Document

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of John Harrington, 2004.


Forms part of the African Activist Archive.

Varying Form of Title

African Activist Archive.

Processing Information

The donation was inventoried by Peter Limb, Africana Bibliographer, in July 2004, and arranged by Lisa Robinson in August 2004.

Inventoried: July 2004 and Arranged: August 2004.

Finding Aid for the John Harrington's South Africa Papers, 1972-1995
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