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Harvard and Radcliffe Alumni/ae Against Apartheid collection

Identifier: MSS 441 large

Scope and Contents

The Chester Hartman Harvard and Radcliffe Alumni/ae Against Apartheid collection includes many internal documents of the organization, including communications among members of its Executive Committee. Many of the documents in the collection are about selecting and promoting anti-apartheid and pro-divestment candidates.


  • Creation: 1985 - 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

Harvard and Radcliffe Alumni/ae Against Apartheid (HRAAA) was an organization that campaigned for Harvard University to adopt a policy of divesting its stock in companies operating in South Africa.

The HRAAA ran campaigns for a number of years to elect pro-divestment candidates to the Harvard Board of Overseers. Harvard includes alumni on this Board, and HRAAA used a petition system to nominate their candidates.

The two most well-known people associated with this effort are Bishop Desmond Tutu, who was elected to and served on the Board of Overseers (being an Honorary degree holder from Harvard), and Barack Obama, who was an unsuccessful candidate nominated by HRAAA in 1991, the year he graduated from Harvard Law School. (By the time of this 1991 election, Harvard had changed the rules for nominating candidates by petition, and it became almost impossible for HRAAA candidates to be successful.) The other HRAAA members who served on the Harvard Board of Overseers were Gay Seidman, Consuela Washington, and Peter Wood.

This organization also was one of the few anti-apartheid organizations with a focus on one particular campaign that raised money for and hired staff. It adopted bylaws and was a registered 501c3 organization.

Chester Hartman was an active member of HRAAA.


1 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by Chester Hartman in 2009.

Existence and Location of Copies

Selected digitized documents from this collection are available online:

Related Materials

Part of the African Activist Archive.

Processing Information

Garrett Nagaishi processed this collection in 2013 and Lydia Tang and Sharon Herring imported the finding aid in 2019.

Finding Aid for the Chester Hartman Harvard and Radcliffe Alumni/ae Against Apartheid collection
4 Published And Cataloged
Garrett Nagaishi, Lydia Tang, and Sharon Herring
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

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