Field: African American History
“African American Entertainers and the Anti-Apartheid Movement, 1948-1994” provides the first comprehensive study of the actions African American singers, actors, athletes, artists, and writers took to contribute to the global push to expose and dismantle the legal manifestations of white supremacy in South Africa.
Historians Janice Love, Robert Massie, Donald Culverson, Francis Nesbitt and others have examined anti-apartheid activism in the United States as thousands of people petitioned the federal government to enact social and economic sanctions against South Africa during the late twentieth century. More recently sociologists and cultural studies scholars such as David Hostetter, Ron Krabill, Torsten Sannar, and Frankie Weaver have assessed the ways that art, artists, and celebrities served to challenge the apartheid regime and popularize the struggles of black South Africans. Using Black Studies scholar Ronald Walters’ Pan African method of analysis, this study fills these gaps in the historiography of the cultural components of the anti-apartheid movement by examining the Pan-African linkages that have existed between African American entertainers and black South Africans. This study draws from an extensive evidentiary base including archival material, historical newspapers, census records, oral histories and government records from the U.S. and South Africa.