[Dear Bill: I have just returned from the Conference in Solidarity With the Oppressed Peoples of Southern Africa …]
by Allen Isaacman, Association of Concerned Africa Scholars
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
October 13, 1981
Association of Concerned Africa Scholars
Letter to ACAS Board members from Executive Director Allen Isaacman, saying the solidarity conference was unique in two respects. Most impressive was the size; there were about 1,200 people representing community groups, civil rights organizations, political action groups, and peace groups; the progressive wing of the labor movement was there in particular strength. Cleveland Robinson's presentation was the best critique of U.S. foreign policy presented, Isaacman said. People from organizations throughout the country all emphasized the need to create a national coalition; many were critical of their past tendency to separate national from international issues and to focus narrowly on particular problem facing their members. Many references were made to links between the loss of jobs and runaway firms opening up in South Africa and between reduction in school food programs and increases in the military budget--some of which may end up in Savimbi's hands. Randell Robinson (TransAfrica), Jean Sindab (The Washington Office on Africa - WOA), Jennifer Davis (American Committee on Africa - ACOA), Bill Southerland (American Friends Service Committee - AFSC), Prexy Nesbitt (WCC Program to Combat Racism), and Timothy Smith (Divestment Campaign) all emphasized the important role ACAS can play both as a "resource bank" and an influential political action group. They were all receptive to Isaacman’s suggestion that ACAS provide them with a "background paper" and short analysis of crisis situations which they would either use internally or distribute to their membership. Both ACOA and WOA have also agreed to provide us with their publications (at cost) so that we can help keep our membership informed; we also discussed joint research projects. Isaacman is working on sending out letters about ACAS to the ASA and AHSA membership. ACAS will hold a session at the A.S.A. on October 23. The mailing discusses A.S.A. (African Studies Association, ASA), A.H.S.A. (African Heritage Studies Association, AHSA).
Used by permission of several co-chairs of the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars.
Collection: William Minter Southern Africa Papers