American Friends Service Committee

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Duration: 1917-current
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Newsletter: Southern Africa International Affairs Report
Southern Africa News
United States Anti-Apartheid Newsletter


The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a pacifist organization, was founded in 1917 to provide young Quakers and other conscientious objectors an opportunity to serve those in need instead of fighting during World War I. For many years it had a Southern Africa Program based in it national office but it also operated in regional office. In the early 1970s AFSC was involved in campaigns opposing imports from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The organization was active in campaigns against apartheid in South Africa. For many years the national coordinator of the Southern Africa Program was Jerry Herman. Thandi Gcabashe, an exiled South African and daughter of ANC President Chief Albert Luthuli, was appointed Director of the Southern Peace Education Program of the American Friends Service Committee in Atlanta, Georgia, a post she occupied for 15 years. The organization has regional offices in many cities. AFSC offices in Atlanta, Georgia; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Denver, Colorado; Kansas City, Missouri; Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington did a significant amount of work supporting African struggles against colonialism and apartheid.

Organizational Archive


Title: American Friends Service Committee Archives
Time Span: Africa 1960s-current (archives include older material not related to Africa)
Description: The archives of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) are based in its national headquarters. The archives include letters, reports, statistical information and committee minutes. There is also an extensive collection of photographs, magazine and newspaper clippings, and a small collection of audio tapes - all pertaining to AFSC's work. AFSC's Peace Education Division and Southern Africa Program supported African struggles against colonialism and apartheid. The Southern Africa Program had a national coordinator and regional coordinators in many AFSC offices across the United States. NARMIC, a research project of the Peace Education Division, conducted research into U.S. computer and military sales to South Africa. AFSC and NARMIC issued publications and testified before Congress. Bill Sutherland, who lived in Tanzania and was AFSC's Southern Africa representative between 1975 and 1982; he regularly had U.S. speaking tours. The archive may include material related to Edgar "Ted" Lockwood and Carole Collins who served as AFSC's Southern Africa International Affairs Representative based in Harare, Zimbabwe. The archive includes material related to 1) AFSC's Peace Education Division (including NARMIC) 2) the Southern Africa Program 3) Bill Sutherland 4) AFSC's work in Nigeria during the Biafran-Nigerian Civil War in the 1960s 5) assistance to victims of drought in Africa in the 1970s. The archives may include some material from AFSC's offices across the United States relating to its work on Africa.
Housed At: American Friends Service Committee
Location: 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 , United States
Restrictions: Individuals who are not affiliated with the Service Committee must fill out an application and submit a writing sample in order to gain access to the files. Contact in advance.
Phone: (215) 241-7044
Reference Email: archives@afsc.org
Related Website: http://www.afsc.org/ht/d/sp/i/1321/pid/1321

Related Archive
Title: Portland Anti-Apartheid Materials (Elizabeth Ussher Groff collection)
Time Span: about 1981-1987
Description: Includes material of the American Friends Service Committee (Portland, Oregon office) and Portlanders Organized for Southern Africa Freedom. Elizabeth Ussher Groff was involved with both those organization. Archives deposited by Elizabeth Ussher Groff.
Housed At: Michigan State University Library, Special Collections
Location: 100 Library, East Lansing, MI 48824, United States
Phone: 517-353-8700
Related Website: http://www.lib.msu.edu/coll/main/spec_col/