New Jersey Committee on Southern Africa

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Duration: 1965- Unknown
Location: Princeton, New Jersey, United States

The New Jersey Committee on Southern Africa was founded in 1965 by four graduate students at Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, William Scott and David Wiley, co-chairs, with John Gerhart and Nathan Shamuyarira. The occasion for the founding of NJCOSA in November 1965 was the "Unilateral Declaration of Independence" (UDI) by the white minority government of Rhodesia, headed by Ian Smith. The focus of the NJCOSA was especially on Rhodesia and South Africa, but also included Namibia, Mozambique, Angola, and Guinea-Bissau. The major activities of NJCOSA included educational film and speaker events at Princeton and at other New Jersey campuses; hosting African liberation movement speakers; petitioning the Princeton University Board of Trustees to divest of stock holdings of U.S. companies in South Africa; and demonstrations against UDI at Princeton and against John Engelhard (Princeton alumnus) and his Engelhard Industries plant in Newark, NJ which had close personal and corporate relations with South Africa. At Princeton, NJCOSA cooperated with various Black student organizations in petitions to the Trustees and a demonstration on May 2, 1968 and, with the Association of Black Collegians, which occupied New South Hall, an administration building, for 11 hours in March 1969. Also, NJCOSA members Wiley and Marylee Crofts suggested and then began the "Rhodesia News Summary" (RNS) as a vehicle to spread news about the political situation in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), which was relatively unknown in the U.S. RNS was published by the Southern Africa Committee of the National Student Christian Federation (NSCF), based in New York. RNS was distributed to interested individuals and scholars in New Jersey, members of the NSCF, administrators and executives of the mainstream protestant churches, and others primarily in New York and Washington, D.C. The publication later became a twice monthly publication and was re-titled "Southern Africa News Summary." (See also description of the Southern African Committee.)