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8,700 Miles From Pretoria: The Anti- Apartheid Movement in Madison, Wisconsin, 1968-1994

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Pfeifer, Samuel J.
Oberly, James Warren, 1954-
May 20, 2010
Anti-apartheid movements--Wisconsin--Madison; Madison Area Committee on Southern Africa (Wis.); Madison Anti-Apartheid Coaltion (Wis.); College students--Wisconsin--Madison--Political activity; University of Wisconsin--Madison--Political activity; Madison (Wis.)--Politics and government
Since the United States played a critical role toward South Africa's prolonging of Apartheid due to their role as an important ally in Cold War politics, within the United States existed a substantial Anti-Apartheid Movement. This article examines the American Anti-Apartheid Movement, specifically through analyzing the activism that took place in Madison, Wisconsin centered around the University of Wisconsin. The focus on Madison was based on the author's realization that Anti-Apartheid activism was influential in shaping Madison's politics long before the American Anti-Apartheid Movement gained momentum in the 1980s largely due to the existence of the Madison Area Committee on Southern Africa (MACSA), an active campus-based coalition against imperialism in Southern Africa. Spanning the entire existence of MACSA (1969-1994), including when it reformed as the Madison Anti-Apartheid Coalition (MAAC) in 1985, the author describes the Anti-Apartheid Movement's beginnings in Madison to be largely unoriginal and insignificant. By 1976, however, Anti-Apartheid activism within Madison began to achieve inspiring political victories unseen elsewhere in the United States, influencing legislation within the City of Madison, Dane County, and the University of Wisconsin. Finally, the article chronicles Madison?s involvement during the final years of Apartheid, describing the City as active in the Movement, but not nearly a pioneer city of the movement it once was. Regardless, the article provides the Anti-Apartheid Movement within Madison and the greater United States as a prime historical example where ordinary people were able to make a difference in global politics.
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