Pan-African Liberation Committee

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Duration: 1971 - 1974
Location: Brookline Village, Massachusetts, United States

The Pan-African Liberation Committee (PALC) was formed by individuals who were involved in the Southern Africa Relief Fund and were students at Harvard University including Randall Robinson, Brenda Randolph Robinson and South African exile Chris Nteta. PALC's initial focus was on a boycott of Gulf Oil Corporation because of the company's exploitation of oil in the Portuguese colony of Angola. In April 1972, 14 hours after Harvard President Derek Bok announced the university would not divest from Gulf, a group of black students from Harvard Radcliffe Association of African and Afro-American Students (Afro) and the Pan-African Liberation Committee took over Massachusetts Hall, headquarters of the central administration, demanding that the university sell its investments in the company. This began the Gulf divestment campaign at Harvard. One year later, on April 24, 1973, following a Harvard Corporation meeting that reaffirmed the decision not to divest from Gulf, 1,500 students crowded into Harvard Yard, blocking President Bok from his Massachusetts Hall offices. PALC was also active in the broader Cambridge-Boston area. The organization ceased to operate around 1974. (Source: PALC documents; assorted articles from the Harvard Crimson archives; and Brenda Randolph)