Interview with E. S. Reddy

by E. S. Reddy (Interviewee), Lisa Brock (Interviewer)
with Gail Hovey
New York, New York, United States
July 20, 2004
20 pages
Type: Interview Transcript
Coverage outside Africa: United States, Europe, India, United Kingdom, United Nations
Language: English

E. S. Reddy was a witness to and an important participant in half a century of the international struggle to end colonialism, white minority rule, and apartheid in Southern Africa. From 1963 to 1984, he was the United Nations official in charge of action against apartheid, first as principal secretary of the Special Committee Against Apartheid and then as director of the Centre against Apartheid. In the first position, in the face of opposition from the Western powers, Reddy supplied suggestions for action, draft resolutions, speeches, and reports to the small countries who were members of the Committee who were working to end apartheid. In the second position, he played a key role in promoting international sanctions against South Africa and the world campaign to free Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners. Recognizing the importance of public action for the effectiveness of the U.N., he worked with and supported anti-apartheid movements around the globe. He saw numerous U.S. organizations that supported movements for African liberation at work over more than 40 years. He observed the power of American racism to influence not only U.S. government policy but also the support movements themselves. The interview discusses Columbia University, the Council on African Affairs, Paul Robeson, W. E. B. Du Bois, Alphaeus Hunton, Julius Nyerere, Eduardo Mondlane, Diallo Telli, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), American Committee on Africa (ACOA), Free South Africa Movement, Sean MacBride, Dr. A. B. Xuma, the African National Congress (ANC), Harlem, the Abyssinian Church, New York University (NYU), International House, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), the Defiance Campaign, Trusteeship and Non-Self-Governing Territories Department, Trusteeship Council, trust territories, Togoland, Northwestern University, FRELIMO, the Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organization, Gandhi, Episcopal Churchmen for Southern Africa (ECSA), Bill Johnston, Trevor Huddleston, Bishop Reeves, George Houser, Keith Irvine, local groups, Rev. Martin Luther King, Bayard Rustin, Eleanor Roosevelt, CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), Marcus Garvey, Sol Plaatje, SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), Edgar Lockwood, the  State Department, the African American Leadership Conference, African Liberation Day demonstrations, Jim Forman, TransAfrica, Randall Robinson, Max Yergan, the Smuts government, South West Africa, Sir Maharaj Singh, McCarthyism, Subversive Organizations Control Act, the Communist Party, sedition, Dashiell Hammett, the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly, John Foster Dulles, and Sylvanus Olympio.

This interview was conducted as research for the book No Easy Victories: African Liberation and American Activists over a Half Century, 1950-2000. With assistance of Aluka (, the interview was transcribed and prepared for presentation on the web. The transcript was reviewed by the interviewee, and an introduction was prepared by one of the editors of No Easy Victories. The transcript also is available on the No Easy Victories website.
Used by permission of William Minter, Editor, No Easy Victories.