[At the Organizing Conference to Stop South African Coal, held in Atlanta on February 1 and 2, the featured speaker was Tapson Mawere]
by Ken Lawrence, Freedom Information Service
with Theresa Perry
Tougaloo, Mississippi, United States
Undated, February or March 1975?
Freedom Information Service
Leaflet presumably sent out in a mailing. The leaflet says at the Organizing Conference to Stop South African Coal, held in Atlanta on February 1 and 2, the featured speaker was Tapson Mawere, the official North American representative of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU); despite the urgent programmatic and material needs implicit in the analysis he presented in his speech, none of the proposals submitted to the conference referred to ZANU or called for support to ZANU. The leaflet says on the second day, a special workshop on ZANU support was added to the agenda, conducted by Tapson. About 30 of the 170 who attended the conference attended this workshop. The leaflet says following is a report of that workshop, delivered to the final plenary session of the conference by Theresa Perry of Birmingham; when she moved the proposals contained in the report, she was ruled out of order by the chairman, Malcolm Suber, of the Atlanta chapter of the African Liberation Support Committee; after a fierce debate (at one point Tapson Mawere himself, the honored guest of the conference, was not allowed to speak), the body voted to uphold the chair, killing the proposals by a parliamentary maneuver. The leaflet says in addition to our concern about this insult to Tapson Mawere and ZANU, whose specific requests for support were rejected by the conference, we were faced with a practical problem: the proposals approved by the conference, targeting actions against South African Coal and the Southern Company, are feasible in the port where the coal will arrive (Mobile), at the power plants where the coal will be burned (northern Florida), and in the areas served by the Southern Company and its subsidiaries (most of Alabama and Georgia, and a little bit of southeastern Mississippi); for other areas of the South, very little effective action can be mobilized with this single issue orientation. The leaflet says the people who want to conduct a campaign over a broader area, and who want to work specifically on building support for ZANU, have agreed to begin by setting up speaking/fundraising events for Tapson, to be coordinated by Black Military Resistance League in Norfolk in conjunction with Paul Irish of the American Committee on Africa (ACOA). The leaflet discuses boycott, revolution, armed struggle, NATO, the South African racist regime, the Smith regime, the Rhodesian Information Office, the Byrd Amendment, and self-determination.
Used by permission of Ken Lawrence, a former member of the Freedom Information Service.
Collection: Private collection of Ken Lawrence