New England Students Against Apartheid

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Duration: 1986 - 1989
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

New England Students Against Apartheid (NESAA) was a coalition of high school and college groups throughout New England concerned with the liberation of South Africa and pressuring colleges and universities to divest their investments in companies doing business in South Africa. The organization was founded by students at Harvard University, but soon moved to downtown offices shared with (and largely donated by) MassFairShare. It was founded around 1985. In 1986, Mark Lurie, a native South African and recent graduate of Boston University, became the Director of NESAA. He traveled extensively throughout New England to colleges and high schools, talking about South Africa, divestment, and showing a multi-media slide show produced with Peter Lurie called "South Africa behind the Headlines." The slide show told the story of the struggle for democracy in South Africa and the contribution students in the U.S. could make to fighting apartheid, using photographs taken by the Lurie brothers, recordings of political speeches and rallies, and South African literature and music. By 1988, the organization had grown significantly, with more than 50 affiliated university and high school student groups. The focus of NESAA was on educating students about apartheid, making the case for the importance of divestment, and helping local affiliates organize protests, speakers and divestment campaigns. The organization was largely successful in pressuring numerous universities to divest their South African related stock. (Source: Mark N. Lurie, a former director of New England Students Against Apartheid.)