Chicago celebrates ANC’s 100th anniversary

Local groups consider connections between liberation in Africa and American civil rights movement.

January 6, 2012

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The flag of the African National Congress. The movement that ended apartheid was born 100 years ago.

Chicago is marking 100 years of South Africa’s liberation movement. The African National Congress centennial is kicking off a local celebration and discussion about the relationship between the American civil rights movement and South Africa’s struggle against apartheid.

There’s long been a kinship between black Americans and black South Africans over oppression. Some South Africans left their country for Chicago to escape the brutal apartheid regime, and black Chicagoans participated locally in protests against South African apartheid. Some of these protests were made decades before apartheid was officially dismantled in the early 1990s.

“I certainly hope that we will inform another generation or generations about the historic struggle and the importance of the ANC as a model for selfless struggle related to the human values and liberation and freedom,” said Iva Carruthers, a member of the Chicago ANC centennial host committee.

Carruthers said she hopes the celebration provides new connections in stopping oppression in the African Diaspora.

On Sunday Jan. 8, Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 W. 95th St., will hold a panel discussion on civil rights in the U.S. and the ANC from 3-5 p.m. The panelists include: Prof. Harold Rogers, Moderato;, Dr. Rachel Rubin, UIC; attorney Stan Willis; Prof. Johann Buis, Wheaton College; and Nicole Lee, Executive Director of TRANSAFRICA, a group that advocates for political and economic development in Africa.