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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Re-thinking the emergence of the struggle for South African liberation in the United States: Max Yergan and the Council on African Affairs, 1922-1946
Author:Johnson, Charles Denton
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic terms:South Africa
United States
Subjects:national liberation struggles
African Americans
About person:Max Yergan (1892-1975)ISNI
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03057070.2013.768448
Abstract:This article is about how African American missionary Max Yergan and other African American anti-colonial activists working through the Council on African Affairs (CAA) contributed to the emergence of the struggle for South African liberation in the United States. It subsumes Yergan's arrival in South Africa in 1922 through the establishment of the Council and its initial campaigns on behalf of black South Africans. The author's intent is to show that the struggle for South African liberation in the United States developed from transnational contact between African Americans and black South Africans and that the struggle began not in the United States as is most often assumed but in South Africa under the leadership of Yergan. The Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 pushed Yergan and other anti-colonial radicals more assuredly into the fight for South Africa's liberation and the Council on African Affairs was critical to the emergence of the struggle in the United States during this early period. It will have further served its purpose if it overturns the lingering idea that African Americans were slow to become serious about the anti-apartheid movement. To the contrary, African Americans were organized and openly protesting for the rights of black South Africans more than three decades before they had won their own civil rights and at least a decade before apartheid had been established in South Africa. Liberal whites played an important role too, especially in providing financial support for the struggle but also through their active participation. The author's concern is not to write them out of the history of the struggle for South Africa's liberation, but to write African Americans into it more effectively. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]