American Committee on Africa

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All (1345) | Documents (1210) | Photographs (103) | Posters (21) | Audio (9) | Video (2)

Alternate Names: Americans for South African Resistance, Africa Action
Duration: 1953-2001 (Americans for South African Resistance (1952-1953)
Location: New York, New York, United States
Newsletter: ACOA Action News
ACOA NOTES
Africa-U.N. Bulletin
Bulletin: Americans for South African Resistance
Public Investment and South Africa Newsletter
South Africa Bulletin
Student Anti-Apartheid Newsletter
Washington Notes on Africa (ACOA)


The American Committee on Africa (ACOA) was founded in 1953 to support the liberation struggle in Africa. It was a national organization supporting African struggles against colonialism and apartheid. ACOA grew out of the ad hoc Americans for South African Resistance (AFSAR) which was formed to support the Campaign of Defiance Against Unjust Laws led by the African National Congress (ANC). The co-chairmen of AFSAR were Rev. Donald Harrington of the Community Church of New York and Rev. Charles Y. Trigg of Salem Methodist Church in Harlem. In 1953, following the end of the Defiance Campaign, AFSAR met and decided to form ACOA, an organization supporting the whole anti-colonial struggle in Africa. Based in New York, NY, ACOA had a national focus and a broad range of constituencies including students, labor, civil rights, religious and community leaders and elected officials. In 1954 ACOA launched the magazine Africa Today, which in 1967 became independent under the control of Africa Today Associates (see separate entry) and is now published by Indiana University Press. In 1966 ACOA founded The Africa Fund, a 501(c)3 organization (see separate entry); the two organizations shared office space and staff but had separate boards and budgets. In 1967 ACOA established a Washington Office (Washington, DC). In 1972 the Washington Office was reorganized as an independent organization sponsored by five organizations including ACOA and renamed the Washington Office on Africa (see separate entry). ACOA's scope included anti-colonial struggles throughout the continent including Algeria, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Western Sahara, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. ACOA staff traveled extensively in Africa, attending all the All African People's Conferences, visiting newly independent countries and the Frontline States to meet with African leaders, attend conferences and visit refugee camps. ACOA published newsletters including Africa-UN Bulletin, ACOA Action News, Student Anti-Apartheid News, and the Public Investment and South Africa. ACOA played a key role in campaigns related to South Africa especially for sanctions and the divestment which resulted in churches, universities, states and cities selling their stock holdings in companies that did business in apartheid South Africa. ACOA supported some post-colonial struggles such as for democracy in Nigeria during the dictatorship of Sani Abacha and against slavery in Mauritania and Sudan. In 2001 ACOA, The Africa Fund and the Africa Policy Information Center (see separate entry) merged to form Africa Action based in Washington, DC. The New York office was closed in 2002. The Executive Directors of ACOA were George Shepard (1952-1953), George M. Houser (1955-1981), Jennifer Davis (1981-2000) and Salih Booker (2000-2001). For more information see No One Can Stop the Rain: Glimpses of Africa's Liberation Struggle by George M. Houser (New York: The Pilgrim Press, 1989) and "Meeting Africa's Challenge - The Story of ACOA" by George M. Houser, ISSUE: A Quarterly Journal of Africanist Opinion, Volume VI, Numbers 2/3 Summer /Fall 1976. Some material of ACOA has been microfilmed and is available in some libraries or purchase from UPA/Lexis/Nexis as Records of the American Committee on Africa, including: Part 1 (6 roles): ACOA Executive Committee minutes and National Office memoranda, 1952-1975; Part 2 (35 roles): Correspondence and subject files on South Africa, 1952-1985. This represents a limited amount of the ACOA material.

Related Archive
Title: Nesbitt (Papers); Prexy
Time Span: 1962 - 1993
Media: 7.4 cubic feet. Includes photos and negatives.
Description: Papers of Nesbitt, a Chicago-area activist, relating to his work as consultant for the Mozambique government and with United States organizations and projects concerning Southern Africa, and their links to related movements in Africa. Included are files relating to the Mozambique Support Network, the Mozambique Solidarity Office (Chicago, IL), the Coalition for Illinois' Divestment from South Africa, the Chicago Committee for the Liberation of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau (CCLAMG), the Angola Support Conference, the American Committee on Africa, The Africa Fund, and the World Council of Churches Program to Combat Racism and the Working Conference on Southern Africa (Madison, WI: 1975). There is also come material concerning Nesbitt's work in the Midwest as a union organizer and representative, teacher, and in community relations in the Chicago Mayor's Office. The papers include correspondence, tour and travel reports, conference and seminar papers, memoranda, and clippings. The photographs document people and events of projects in southern Africa, and also include images used in various organizations' newsletters.
Housed At: Wisconsin State Historical Society
Location: 816 State St., Madison, WI 53706, United States
Catalog/Finding Aid: view
Restrictions: This collection may be used only with the written permission of Prexy Nesbitt until September 2, 2012, at which time the restriction may be extended for one additional period. Contact librarian.
Phone: 608-264-6400
Related Website: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/

Organizational Archive


Title: American Committee on Africa
Time Span: 1949 - 2001
Media: 284.07 Linear Feet; publications, correspondence, research files, pamphlets, periodicals, posters, photos, audio tapes, videos, etc.
Description: Papers, records, publications 1949-2001 of the American Committee on Africa (ACOA). Includes the some material of Americans for South African Resistance (AFSAR). The collection includes the correspondence, project and research files of the American Committee on Africa (ACOA). The collection includes publications, newsletters, photos, posters, videos and films published by ACOA and other organizations. The collection includes papers, articles and correspondence of Adotei Akwei, Michael Fleshman, Jennifer Davis, James Farmer, Donald Harrington, Mary-Louise Hooper, George M. Houser, Paul Irish, Richard Knight, Dumisani S. Kumalo, Richard Lapchick, Conrad Lynn, Frank Montero, Prexy Nesbitt, Andrew E. Norman, Joshua Nessen, Wyatt Tee Walker, Peter Weiss and many others. It also includes correspondence with numerous African liberation movement leaders. In May 2013 a finding aid American Committee on Africa records addendum, 1949-2001 was added. The collection also includes material from many other U.S. and international solidarity and anti-colonial and anti-apartheid organizations. For more information on see "No One Can Stop the Rain: Glimpses of Africa's Liberation Struggle" by George M. Houser (New York: The Pilgrim Press, 1989) and "Meeting Africa's Challenge - The Story of ACOA" by George M. Houser, ISSUE: A Quarterly Journal of Africanist Opinion, Volume VI, Numbers 2/3 Summer /Fall 1976.
Housed At: Amistad Research Center
Location: Tilton Hall, Tulane University, 6823 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70118, United States
Catalog/Finding Aid: view
Phone: (504) 862-3222
Reference Email: reference@amistadresearchcenter.org
Related Website: http://www.amistadresearchcenter.org

Related Archive
Title: Randolph (Register of His Papers in the Library of Congress); A. Philip
Time Span: 1949-1969 (Africa material)
Media: 13,000 items; 56 containers plus 4 oversize; 23.8 linear feet
Description: A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979), was an African-American labor and civil right leader. He organized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, most of whose members were African-America. He was a member of the Executive Committee of Americans for South African Resistance (AFSAR) which was founded in 1952 to support the Defiance Campaign Against Unjust Laws in South Africa. He was active in and served on the National Committee of the American Committee on Africa (ACOA), which grew out of AFSAR. The American Negro Leadership Conference on Africa (ANLCA) was formed in 1962 with Randolph and Martin Luther King, Jr., as cochairmen; ANLCA went out of business in 1968. In 1966 Randolph headed the Committee of Conscience Against Apartheid formed by ACOA and the University Christian Movement to protest loans to South Africa by Chase Manhattan Bank and First National City Bank. Subject files related to Africa include: American Committee on Africa, 1954-1969; American Negro Leadership Conference, 1962-1967; Americans for South African Resistance, 1952-1953; and Correspondence, 1949-1968, n.d.
Housed At: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division
Location: Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. 20540-4680, United States
Catalog/Finding Aid: view
Phone: (202) 707-5387

Related Archive
Title: UAW President's Office: Walter P. Reuther Collection
Time Span: 1959-1970 (approximately) Africa material
Description: Walter P. Reuther was a leader of the United Automobile Workers Union of which he was elected President in March 1946. See especially Series XV, Organizations, 1946-1970, Boxes 467-539. Files related to Africa include: American Committee for Assistance to Tunisia, 1969-1970; American Committee on Africa, 1959-1970; American Negro Leadership Conference on Africa, 1962-1968.
Housed At: Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University
Location: 5401 Cass Ave., Detroit MI 48202, United States
Catalog/Finding Aid: view
Restrictions: Unknown, contact depository institution in advance
Phone: 313-577-4024
Reference Email: reutherreference@wayne.edu
Related Website: http://www.reuther.wayne.edu

Related Archive
Title: Hooper (papers); Mary-Louise
Time Span: mid-1950s? - late-1960s?
Description: Mary-Louise Hooper was an American, a Quaker and a graduate of Stanford University. In 1956 Mary-Louise Hooper went to South Africa on a group tour and met Chief Albert Luthuli (also spelled Lutuli) and other leaders of the African National Congress (ANC). She became deeply committed to the anti-apartheid cause and she immigrated to South Africa later that year and bought a home in Durban. She worked for two years as an assistant to Luthuli. She was arrested and given a deportation order in March 1957 with thirty days to clear up her affairs. The ANC gave Hooper a letter of commendation signed by Luthuli and Tambo. After being forced to leave South Africa, Hooper returned to the United States and worked at the American Committee on Africa (ACOA) both in its office in New York and but mostly as the organization's West Cost representative. She was a member of the ANC's delegation to the All Africa People's Conference in Accra in December 1958 - no members of the ANC based inside South Africa were able to attend, as the government refused to let them travel outside the country. She also attended the All-African Peoples Conferences held in Tunis (1960) and Cairo (1961). Her work at ACOA included raising money for political prisoners for the Africa Defense and Aid Fund, arranging public meetings for African leaders, public speaking, helping African students in the U.S. and other countries, organizing the Declaration of American Artists Against Apartheid statement "We Say 'No' to Apartheid" opposing cultural contacts, signed by 65 well known performers, and editing a newsletter, South African Bulletin (later renamed Southern Africa Bulletin). She co-coordinated the Committee of Conscience Against Apartheid, initiated by the ACOA and the University Christian Movement, which campaigned against the financial support to apartheid given by two of the largest New York banks - Chase Manhattan and First National City. She traveled in 24 African countries and was acquainted with numerous African leaders. Included in the archives are original letters from Moses Kotane in Dar-Es-Salaam, Oliver Tambo, Alfred Hutchison, Zeke Mphahlele, M.P. Naicker, and many from Albert Luthuli in Groutville. The archive also includes letters from Joshua Nkomo of Zimbabwe and Tom Mboya of Kenya. (Note: Additional archival material related to Mary-Louise Hooper is in the archives of the ACOA at the Amistad Research Center, Tulane University.) Donated by Mary-Louise Hooper's daughter Sue Cogley.
Housed At: Michigan State University Library, African Activist Archive
Location: Special Collections, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, United States
Catalog/Finding Aid: view
Restrictions: Library use only - contact MSU Library in advance
Phone: 517-353-8700
Related Website: http://www.lib.msu.edu/

Related Archive
Title: Jack Papers, 1930-1995; Homer A.
Time Span: Africa material mostly 1950s and early 1960s
Description: Homer A. Jack (1916-1993) was a Unitarian Universalist clergyman and denominational official who sought to apply religious values to national and international affairs. The archives include material related to the Americans for South African Resistance (1952-1953) and the American Committee on Africa. Jack was a co-founded of the American Committee on Africa and served as associate director of the organization from 1959 to 1964. Series VI, Box 19 includes material on the Afro-Asian Peoples' Solidarity Conference, Cairo, Egypt. December, 1957-January, 1958, Conference Documents, Articles and notes by Homer Jack, Letters to the American Committee on Africa about the Conference, Clippings; and the All-African Peoples' Conference, Accra, Ghana, December 1958, Conference Documents, Articles and notes by Homer Jack, Reports, Clippings, Related material. Series VII, 1960-1969, covers the time when he lived in Scarsdale, New York, while working for the American Committee on Africa and for SANE and the years in Boston, Massachusetts, when he worked with the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Catalog/Finding Aid: view

Related Archive
Title: George M. Houser collection
Time Span: 1954 - 1999
Media: Slides and film
Description: The George Houser collection consists of 1634 slides and approximately nine hours of film taking by Houser during trips to various African countries, spanning a period of time from 1954 to 1999. Some of the notable events and personages included in the collection are: the first election of an independent Ghana (1954); three All African Peoples Conferences in Ghana (1958), Tunis (1960), and Cairo (1961); the founding of the Organization of African Unity (1963); Self-Government Day in Kenya with pictures of Jomo Kenyatta (1963); a hiking trip in Angola during the war against Portugal (1962); independence celebrations in Malawi and Zambia (1964); Houser's flight into Namibia in keeping with a United Nations resolution, but without a South African visa (1957); two weeks in the Sahara desert with the liberation group Polisario (1979); the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the African Party for Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde; the twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the struggle for Algerian independence; elections before independence in Zimbabwe after the civil war (1980); and the elections and independence in Namibia (1989-1990). Includes material on Algeria, Angola, Cape Verde, Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Western Sahara, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Housed At: Amistad Research Center
Location: Tilton Hall, Tulane University, 6823 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70118, United States
Catalog/Finding Aid: view
Phone: (504) 862-3222
Reference Email: reference@amistadresearchcenter.org
Related Website: http://www.amistadresearchcenter.org

Related Archive
Title: The King Center Digital Archive Apartheid--South Africa
Time Span: 1960s
Description: Archive at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. The digital archive includes material of the American Committee on Africa, with which Martin Luther King (MLK) was associated; speeches by MLK; material by Episcopal Churchman for South Africa; the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); correspondence with groups in South Africa including the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) and Anglican Students' Federation); a letter from Christian Action in London; a letter from the Canadian Anti-Apartheid Committee; and other material. The extent of other material in the archive is unknown.
Housed At: Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change
Location: 449 Auburn Avenue, NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30312, United States
Catalog/Finding Aid: view
Phone: (404) 526-8983
Related Website: http://www.thekingcenter.org