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Delaware Committee for a Free South Africa

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Alternate Names: Delaware Committee Against Racism and Apartheid, Delaware Committee for Racial Harmony, Delaware Committee for Racial Justice and Harmony
Duration: June 1984 - still exists
Location: Wilmington, Delaware, United States


The Delaware Committee for a Free South Africa, a project of Delaware Pacem in Terris in Wilmington, Delaware, began in June 1984 as the "South Africa Project." The organization planned a community-wide conference on apartheid in South Africa in March 1985 called "A Conference on South Africa: Building Common Ground for Education and Action to End Apartheid" which had as its goal education and building a coalition for divestment in Delaware. By the late spring 1985 the project changed its name to the Delaware Committee for a Free South Africa. It went by this name until late 1989, when it changed its name again to the Delaware Committee Against Racism and Apartheid. In February 1996 the name was changed to the Delaware Committee for Racial Harmony, then the name was expanded in November 1996 to the Delaware Committee for Racial Justice and Harmony, which remains its current name. The biggest accomplishments of the Committee were: 1) a large public rally on September 18, 1985 attended by 150 people that built public awareness about apartheid and the need for divestment; 2) the successful divestment of stocks from companies doing business in South Africa from New Castle County Pension Funds which was passed by the New Castle County Council on January 28, 1986 and signed into law by the County Executive Rita Justice on January 31, 1986; and 3) the creation of Annual SOWETO Festivals beginning in June 1990. By 1996, the Festival was scaled down from art, music, poetry, and drama held in several different venues over a couple of weeks to the Annual SOWETO Art Exhibit with an opening reception that includes artists, musicians, and poets. In 2010, the organization it held its 21st annual exhibit. A portion of the commission that the Committee receives from the artists from sales of their work goes to Friends of SOMAFCO, which supports rural schools and an urban feeding program for the homeless in South Africa. (Source: Dr. Sally Milbury-Steen, Delaware Pacem in Terris)