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"Freedom's Warriors: African American Churches and U.S. South Africa Policy"




Rev. Fr. C. Aham Nnorom, Ph.D.

When in the summer of 1974, Martin Weil asked that haunting but prophetic question: “Can the Blacks do for Africa what the Jews did for Israel,” it seemed apartheid South Africa was impregnable, Rhodesia’s unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) irreversible, and Portuguese colonialism in Africa indestructible.




This study on African American Churches (AAC’s) and the passage of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of (CAAA) of 1986 challenges the view that they played an insignificant role in the overthrow of white minority rule and the installation of black majority rule in South Africa.1  It argues that the AACs were in the vanguard of the antiapartheid movement but that their contributions have been largely ignored and unappreciated.

Understandably, this research is limited and preliminary for two reasons.
  First, given the large size, decentralized and autonomous nature of AACs, a more in-depth and substantive work will require more time and resources.  Second, the difficulty in locating and accessing ecclesiastical documents and archival materials due to the absence of centralized church bureaucracies, hindered research.  In fact as one top church official acknowledged that “one has to be almost a detective to research African American Churches”2 While acknowledging that a more centralized Black Church would have enabled it to speak out more forcefully and on public policy issues, a former lay ecclesiastical official and antiapartheid activist, opined that decentralization had also its advantages. For given the historically weak socio-economic and political position of African Americans in racist America, a decentralized Black Church made it, at least, more difficult for the traditionally hostile agents of the US government to target and destroy them. According to him, AACs are autonomous and low profile "because if people think you have influence, they will try to destroy you."3

Finally, this study is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Marshall Lorenzo Shepard, Jr., the former President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC) (1984-1986), whom this writer had interviewed on March 13, 2002 for this article.
  Not only was he kind and patient enough to be interviewed without notice, he called the author of this study twice, two days later providing names, phone numbers, and addresses of antiapartheid activists.  For he surely understood the need and importance of documenting for posterity the noble deeds of African Americans, especially African Churches.  In fact, he had told this writer to call him at anytime - day or night - in order to get this study finished.  What a shock to learn that he passed away on March 26 - less than two weeks after this writer had spoken to him.  May his generous, gentle but fiery antiapartheid spirit rest in perfect peace.  Napoleon was partially right: “There is no immortality except the memories left in the minds of men.”

AACs and US South Africa policy is primarily influenced by the communications approach to foreign policy and is divided into (1) Caveat on Methodology  (2) Background, (3) Secular Interest Groups and Foreign Policy, (4) AACs and American Democracy, (5) Brief Overview of African American Church Groups, (6) Reagan: AACs and the "Politics of Creation Tension" (7) The Role of African American Churches (8) AACs and Black Electoral Power: The Passage of the CAAA  (9) Conclusion.


When in the summer of 1974, Martin Weil asked that haunting but prophetic question: “Can the Blacks do for Africa what the Jews did for Israel,”4 it seemed apartheid South Africa was impregnable, Rhodesia’s unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) irreversible, and Portuguese colonialism in Africa indestructible.

Yet today, apartheid is ended; Zimbabwe is free; and the Portuguese colonial system is finished - thanks to the courage and resilience of the African liberation movements and the human and material support they received from sympathetic governments and organizations in Africa, Europe and America.  Prominent among the groups involved in the anti-colonial struggle in Southern Africa in the U.S. were Trans-Africa, labor unions, and American churches, especially African American churches, and numerous other organizations.

That African Americans played the leading role in the defeat of apartheid is not surprising.  Just like  other Americans of foreign (though not slave) descent, they “have sought to use American power in the interest of their ancestral homeland.”5  Indeed from the day that Dutch ship forcibly brought the “First Africans” to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 as “indentured servants,"6 from the emancipation of their ancestors in 1865 to the enactment of the CAAA in 1986, Black American were never ever oblivious of the land of their ancestors.  For neither slavery nor Jim Crow, neither segregation nor oppression, not even the Ocean, had the power to separate them totally from the cultural and biological bonds that bound them to the land of their forbears.  Consequently, Black Americans have maintained over the centuries before they began to gain a measure of political power- consciously or unconsciously- a “symbolic cultural and biological PanAfricanism.”  Indeed other than the "symbolic cultural-biological PanAfricanists," there has also always existed within the Black community an anawin (a remnant) - made up mostly of conscious African American professionals - scholars, lawyers, doctors, pastors, and others - who vocally and organizationally - kept the links with Africa alive in America.7

These “ties that bind” were manifested in several sustained efforts for physical return to Africa.  The first successful of those attempts led to the “emergence of a significant Diaspora settlement in Sierra Leone.”8  But Black attachment to Africa was not only expressed in efforts to escape slavery and return to Africa but also in “songs, poems, legends and myths.”9  Malcolm X acknowledged the power of the African connection when he said: “I’ve got ghosts of Africa swimming in my blood"10  And refusing to be “exorcized”, these primeval “ghosts,” like eternal and ubiquitous African ancestral spirits, are still “swimming” in the blood of African Americans: In their color and physique, in their songs and dances, in their rhythm and rhyme, and most importantly, in their religious experiences, liturgical expressions, and incredible resilience.


In his seminal work, The Myth of the Negro Post, Melville J. Herskovits, a cultural anthropologist interested in culture contact and acculturation, after doing research on Blacks in Dahomey, Brazil, Haiti, Trinidad, Surinam, and the U.S., found that the African cultural heritage had survived enslavement in America, and that  Africanisms” or African cultural patterns could be found among U.S. Blacks in “family life, motor habits, religious practices, and music.”11  Africanisms” were strongest in African American religious life12.  Lorenzo Turner's Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect investigated African “survivals” in the U.S. and discovered that among the large number of words “in fairly general use… especially in the South” were Africanisms like goober (peanut), gumbo (okra), ninny (female breast), tote (to carry), and yam (sweet potato)13  He also found several hundred African names among Americans on the Southside of Chicago, including the following: “Bobo, one who can not talk (Vai), Geeji, a language and tribe in Liberia, Agona, a country in Ghana (Twi), Ola, that which saves (Goruba), Zola, to love (Congo)14 For Frazier, Herskovit’s most articulate critic, it was, however, not African culture but Christianity that was the “source of social unity and meaning binding together fragmented aggregates of slaves into communities.”15  He called “Africanisms” a “forgotten memory.”16  Mintz and Price have also attacked the concept of African “survivals” in America, insisting that the “increasing knowledge of West African complexity suggests that many of these allegedly widespread West African cultural “elements,” traits, or complexes, are not at all so widespread as Herskovits suggested.”17


All the same, by the 1980’s, historians like John Blassingame, George Rawick, Eugene Genovese, Sterling Tucker, and others, after making the slaves “speak for themselves” through slave narratives, Black autobiographies, fugitive slave accounts, found not only mere “retentions” but that African culture indeed shaped African American culture.”18 


The impact of “symbolic PanAfricanism” is also evident in the names the “first Africans” in America gave their first institutions in the New World.  Allen and his compatriots felt no shame founding the Free Africa Society (FAS) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Thursday, April 12, 1787, a day that Lerone Bennett, Jr. called “the Founding of Black America.”19 From the 1780’s to the 1790’s, branches of the FAS were formed all over the northern states of the country – in Boston, New York, Newport, Rhode Island, and in other cities.  This first secular Black American Freedom organization subsequently gave birth to two all Black churches: the African Church of St. Thomas (1794), and the first authentic independent Black American denomination, the African Methodist Episcopal Church (1794)20.  James Varick and his followers founded the African Methodist Episcopal Zion church in New York (1821). There was also an “Ethiopian Church of Jesus Christ” 21 in Savannah, Georgia, during the Revolutionary War period.  But the era of symbolic PanAfricanism would end with the unleashing of new forces in America and Africa.


Bellah and Brill have identified “two important moments” when American churches had significant influence on U.S. Foreign Policy22.  The first occurred during the “Evangelical Revival or Second Awakening” of the early 19th century, when America deliberately maintained a low global military and political profile, while “Uncle Sam’s” missionaries transmitted his values abroad 23.  The second was the “moment of social responsibility,” when the churches decided that the struggle against poverty and injustice in the U.S. must go hand in hand with efforts to bring justice and equality to the world 24.  The need for a more proactive church involvement in the positive transformation of human society was elaborated by Walter Rauschenbusch, an early 20th century exponent of the “social gospel.”25 A social reformer, he had argued, “religion must be relevant to real world problems and that the church should be actively involved.” 26  Martin Luther King, Jr. was attracted to Rauschenbush’s call to social activism and wholeheartedly embraced his optimism as well. 27


But in South Africa, the relationship between American churches and white supremacy and colonialism may be divided into these periods: (1) Almost total consensus on U.S. support (1834-1948), (2) Opposition to U.S. policy and support for absolute non-violent tactics (1949-1959); (3) qualified support of armed resistance (1960-1986).28


As stated earlier, one of the most powerful forces that influenced the dynamics of politics in Southern Africa as well as U.S. policy toward the region was the missionary explosion of the 19th century in which both Black and White religious groups participated.  However, their reactions to the issues of racism and colonialism varied. The period between 1834 and 1948 was a time when  white American missionaries virtually gave total support to the U.S. government in its pro-Euro-colonial policy and pro-Boer racist domination of Africans, entered into an alliance with Cecil Rhodes, the architect of British imperialism in southern Africa, who often gave them land violently taken from the Africans to build churches, 29 and even gave a copy of the American constitution on which the Boers “based their Volksroad (elected assembly).” 30 At the same, US missionary interests were buttressed by strong economic relations by the presence in South Africa of American multinational companies like Mobil (1897), General Electric (1899), and later by Honeywell and Alice Chalmers, which helped Pretoria to become a nuclear power. 31 Indeed  as early as 1896, the year that Turner made his maiden visit to the country,  “ half  of South Africa’s mines were run by American engineers, one of whom John Hays Hammond, had become the dominant force in South African mining two years before. American engineers brought with them to South Africa American equipment and American capital, which combined to establish an American foothold in South Africa’s nascent economy.” 32


Black American missionaries, on the other hand, were less tolerant of European and Boer domination of southern Africa.  In fact they played a pivotal role in “proto-opposition” to white supremacy in the region.  This opposition could be traced to the birth of Ethiopianism in South Africa and the crucial connections it established with African-American churches in the U.S.  Ethiopianism, which is not merely a product of the African’s quest for ecclesiastical independence, but also of a desire “to be somebody…to initiate, to enjoy the sense of proprietorship in homestead, business, school" traces its origin to a situation not unlike that of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) about a century earlier.  It was born in 1892, when Rev. Mangena Makone, an African minister of the white-controlled Wesleyan Church in Pretoria and fifty followers, broke away from the church because of racism.  They were soon to be joined by other African ministers among who was James Dwane, another Wesleyan minister.  The role of those African Independent Churches (AIC) was largely ignored until the publication of Bengt G. Sundkler’s Prophets in South Africa.  The connection between the AMEC and Ethiopianism in South Africa was providential and coincidental: It was the fruit of relationships developed by Charlotte Manye, a member of a group of South African singers from Kimberly who had left to sing in Britain and America.  After their U.S. tour, Manye stayed behind in the US and met Rev. Beverly Ransom, who facilitated her entry into Wilberforce University, an AMEC institution, where she lived with Bishop Arnett.  Impressed by the work of the AMEC and using stationary carrying the name of Bishop Henry Turner, she wrote her sister Mrs. Kate in Johannesburg lauding the achievements of African-Americans; and soon Bishop Turner was corresponding with Rev. Makone.  As a result of this contact, the Annual Conference of the Ethiopian Church meeting in Pretoria on March 17, 1894, passed a resolution for the merger of the Ethiopian and AME Churches. James Dwane and Jacobus Xaba, leaders of the Ethiopian church, were sent to the U.S. to affect the union.  Fully aware of the great opportunity the moment presented, Bishop Turner convened a special session of the North Georgia Conference of the AMEC in Atlanta on June 19, 1896, which consummated the union and appointed Rev. Dwane General Superintendent for South Africa 33


The merger of both churches set in motion a chain reaction of events and relationships in the U.S. and South Africa whose impact was felt in the anti-apartheid movement in both countries.  “The amalgamation of the Ethiopian and AME Churches culminated a remarkable historical convergence between Christians on opposite corners of the Atlantic.  For African-American Christians, the opening of the African mission field helped salve the pain of the past: slavery, for all its horrors and brutality, had been progressive, a part of God’s unfolding plan for the redemption of Africa.  For Mangena Makone and his comrades, their humble rebellions…resolved themselves into stuff of prophecy.  As Jacobus Xaba put it, the prophecy predicted by Psalm 68 approaches its perfection: And Ethiopia shall stretch out its hands to God” 34


In 1898, barely two years after Ethiopian forces defeated the Italians at the battle of Adowa, Bishop Turner went on five-week blitz through Cape Colony, Transvaal and Orange Free State Republics to formally visit the AMEC in the region.  His visit is symbolic of some of the immediate benefits of the Ethiopia-AMEC connection as well as a more humane and symbiotic approach toward the racial problems in southern Africa.  On the religious plane, he praised the Ethiopian spirit that inspired South Africans to “discover that churches of their own race would be of far more benefit in a pragmatic measure than worshipping among white, where they are compelled to occupy a subordinate status.”  Consequently, he promoted Rev. Dwane from superintendent to vicar bishop of the South African district of the church; he also ordained as AMEC ministers thirty-one elders and twenty deacons.  Turner broke South Africa’s white supremacist laws: Traveling, living, and eating “wherever he wished without incident, and visiting and shaking hands with Paul Krugger, the Afrikaner president of Transvaal, who conceded that “you are the first black man whose hand I have ever shaken.”  In his public speeches, he hid his political inclinations and seemed to blame the black South African victims rather than the colonial system that had oppressed them for so long.  But before private and all-black congregations, the AME bishop showed his true color: It was Turner, the “arch-critic of U.S. imperialism and racism and outspoken emigrationist,” who emphasizes the “need for the international solidarity of blacks, the efficacy of assertive and concerted action to redress their common grievances, and the necessity for defensive violence.” 35 Thus, by promoting the unity of the Ethiopian and AME churches and by identifying the sufferings of black South Africans with those of black Americans., Turner played a leading role in the promotion of Evangelical PanAfricanism36 and “proto-opposition” by an African-American church to European colonialism in Africa.  There also appeared in Natal, South Africa in the 1890’s a group called the African Christian Union, which listed some of its officers as residing in the U.S.  One of their aims was to solicit funds from Europeans to “restore Africans in America to their fatherland and to pursue steadily and unswervingly the policy of Africa For The Africans, and look for the forming of the African Christian Nation” 37


Another fruit of the AME-Ethiopian church connection was both educational and political and facilitated the freedom struggle in southern Africa.  After Charlotte Manye’s graduation from Wilberforce University, she returned to South Africa and was followed by many African students who attended all-African American colleges and universities in search of the “golden fleece.”  From the late 19th and early 20th centuries, “at least forty mission-educated Christians went on to higher education in the United States…Many African leaders came to feel that they could learn much from the Black experience in the U.S.A.   Soon, the AME was not only building churches but also establishing schools among which were Bethel Institute in Cape Town, which was run by Rev. and Mrs. Allen Hattaway, and Wilberforce Institute, which was started by Charlotte and her husband after returning from the U.S.  Indeed the greatest attraction of the AMEC for Africans was neither its theological profundity nor its doctrinal superiority.  It was rather the educational opportunity it provided to a people whom the white establishment would have preferred to wallow in ignorance.  One appeal from South Africa to the AMEC is indicative of this appeal: “Give us…a college or an educational institute that will enable us…to stand upon the same platform as the white race…the same as the Negro is doing in America.” 38


However, the AMEC educational system was unique and its impact subtle.  Unlike the few black white-run schools, it prepared its students for leadership that would confront white supremacy in South Africa just as African-American colleges in the U.S. have historically produced leaders that fought against colonialism and racism in America and other parts of Africa.  Both Nnamdi Azikiwe and Kwame Nkrumah led the independence struggles in Nigeria and Ghana respectively.  They also had two other things in common: They were their country’s first presidents as well as Lincoln University alumni.  These African graduates of Black-American schools were imbued with authentic Christian values, which was the “source of political ideas," that “furnished a language of protest”, and taught a brotherhood that meant a shared, if racially diverse, society.  It was, therefore, not surprising that about half of the dozen men who launched the South African Native Congress, the precursor of the African National Congress (ANC), “had been touched by the AME church and by the broader traffic with black America which the church facilitated.” 39  Alfred Xuma, a product of Tuskegee and North Western University Medical School, became the head of the African National Congress in 1940, and resuscitated, unified, and financed the fragile but venerable organization and used it as a platform for the promotion of African political rights and the condemnation of racism and segregation in South Africa.


All the same, the need for an in-depth study of the impact of Black Americans on Africa was reiterated by Professor Joseph Harris of Howard University at the 2nd International Conference of African Histonans held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1963.  He said that African Americans “had helped to shape the course of events in Central and Southern Africa and that the story of how this was done had to be investigated.” 40


Harris' challenge was taken up by two scholars: Walton Johnson studied the role of African American missionaries during the colonial period in Africa. 41  Richard Ralston traced the early careers of southern African students who studied in the U.S. before 1940. 42  Both concluded that African Americans were extensively involved in Central and Southern Africa and that contact with Black America was an important episode in the education and development of modern African leaders.


The white community in South Africa was understandably worried by the African American connection.  The South African graduates from U.S. black colleges, they complained, “returned indoctrinated with the “dangerous” poison of race hatred which they spread to their gullible and uneducated brethren” Black American notions of democracy, liberty, equality, education and self government,” they said, made Africans “difficult to control.” Moreover, Turner’s activities during his visit to South Africa - only two years after the Ethiopians had defeated the Italians at the battle of Adowa- and the discovery of a letter by a Haitian domestic servant predicting, “ultimately Africans would “whip” the British back to the Thames as the Haitians had repelled the French,"43 only inflamed their fears.  There were also rumors among whites that African Americans were buying large tracts of land in central South Africa to establish a nation governed by blacks.44


The real and imagined dangers of the AMEC/Africa links led to a white backlash. African-Americans were blamed for everything, “from the fractious behavior of chiefs to an apparent epidemic of “native insolence” on the highveld farms.”  Calling AMEC ministers “American agitators” hiding under the “guise of religion,” some state governments cancelled their sacramental licenses.  While a government inquiry found no evidence of seditious behavior on the part of the AMEC ministers, they were, nonetheless, made to feel unwelcome in the region.  White South Africans were especially disturbed by the proprietary attitude of AMEC ministers toward Africa as they saw themselves as the “true sons of the soil.”  It was, therefore, not surprising that African-American missionaries would soon be banned from the area and declared “persona non grata in southern Africa” even until 1926.  For there was indeed a genuine fear among whites, especially the missionaries, who saw the AMEC ministers as “missionary raiders” with an unscrupulous habit of taking advantage of their color, would “steal” most of their converts, who had hitherto looked to the white church for guidance and inspiration.  Moreover, there was also trepidation that unless this incipient relationship was “nipped in the bud,” it could foment an African revolution against the colonial system. 45


John Chilembwe also represents the impact of the anti-colonial Pan-African spirit promoted by some African American missionaries and one of the worst nightmares of European colonialism.  He was converted to Christianity and sent to the U.S. by Joseph Booth, a John Brown-type English missionary.  Booth was a White PanAfricanist who had promoted an organization called the African Christian Union, which was an attempt “to involve all of Africa extraction the world over to unite in the organization of a semi-benevolent joint stock company for the commercial occupation of Africa. Like Garvey, he advocated economic PanAfricanism: “Let the African,” he called out, “be his own employer, develop his own country, establish his own manufactures, run his own ship, work his own mines, and conserve the wealth from his labor for his God-given land for the upliftment of the people and the glory of God.  Let the call be loud and clear to everyone with African blood coursing in his veins…Africa for the Africans” 46


As a result of his radical views on race, the colonial authorities had Booth deported from Africa on several occasions.  However, his greatest disappointment would come from his African disciple: After Chilembwe’s education at Lynchburg Seminary in Virginia, ordination as a minister, return to present day Malawi in 1900, and alienation with Booth, his mentor, it was obvious that he had returned from America as “a John Baptist making a path for American Negro ministers.” 47  He purchased 93 acres of land where he set up the Providence Industrial Mission (PIM) for educating his people in the arts, crafts, and Christianity.  Two years later, he was joined by two African American missionaries, Rev. Landon N. Cheek and Miss Emma B. Delaney, who were sent by the National Baptist Convention (NBC).  With funds from NBC headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, the P.I.M. expanded, building a network of churches, schools, developing home craft classes for women and commercial farming of coffee, cotton, pepper and rubber. P.I.M., modeled after Booker T. Washington Institute at Tuskegee, Alabama and emphasizing self-improvement, soon attracted large numbers of Malawi youths long denied wholesome education by white missionaries and colonial officials.


Chilembwe and the youths protested white takeover of arable African lands, the harsh conditions under which African laborers worked at white estates, and racial discrimination.  And in 1915 this African Freedom Fighter and Nat Turner-like character led a small army of Malawians in an uprising against the British colonial system killing three whites, wounding others, and at least, momentarily, threatening to stem the tide of settler expansionism in Southern Africa.  48 A colonial governor’s inquiry into the causes of the rebellion found out the Chilembwe had imbibed "dangerous political notions from his Africa-American connections and that his attitude toward race relations had been influenced by a certain class of American Negro publications that he had been importing on a regular basis.”


All the same, the actual impact of the Ethiopia-AMEC connection should not be overexaggerated.  After all, many African American missionaries in Southern Africa were rather conservative in their challenge to white supremacy.  There were more Booker T. than Garvey M. ln fact some of them supported British imperialism in Africa, and saw their role in a similar manner as primarily a “civilizing mission,” an opportunity to bring millions of Africans out of “ignorance, degradation and barbarism.”  They opined that the “African had to prove himself worthy of being placed on a par with “civilized” peoples by improving himself morally, intellectually, and financially.” Indeed some AMEC ministers displayed “an overt and covert sense of cultural chauvinism that went to an extreme.”  Dwane, who became an AMEC bishop, severed his connection with the Church because most African-Americans churches preferred light-skinned ministers to dark-skinned ones.  Moreover, the colonial authorities treated Black-Americans differently from the Africans, giving them certain special privileges, which racism had denied them in America.  Such treatment was patently evident during Turner’s visit.  Indeed it is interesting to note that white America treated African students in America in a similar manner in the days of Jim Crow: They often gave them certain privileges denied their American cousins. One AME bishop called the African American presence in South Africa outright imperialism.


After WW11, the racial climate in South Africa deteriorated. This period may be divided into two parts- 1949 to 1975 and 1976 to 1986. With the introduction of apartheid as the official government policy in 1948, the white minority regime used extra force to maintain the status quo.  Black resistance also rose.  The Group Areas Act (1950) was imposed on the country leading to an ANC sponsored mass labor strike during which 18 people were killed by police and 30 wounded.  This period also saw the organization by the ANC of its first nationwide campaign of resistance, the Defiance or Unjust Laws Campaign (1952) in which Mandela played a key role.  The police responded by killing 40 people and arresting 8,000 demonstrators.  The ANC launched the Freedom Charter, created Unkonto We Siwe-Zulu for the "Spear of the Nation" (1961), which carried out its first bomb attack in Johannesburg on December 16, the Day of the Covenant (“holy day”) when Afrikaners celebrate their victory over the Zulu at “Blood River.”  The post WWII era also saw the creation of “Poqo.”  (“Alone” in Xhosa the language of Mandela’s ethnic group), the military wing of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), the rise of the South African Students Organization (SASO) and of its Black Power group, Steve Biko’s Black Consciousness Movement.


In the U.S. various African American groups and individuals sought to counter the violence in South Africa in a variety of ways.  One of them, the Council on African Affairs, founded in 1937, less than two years after Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia, was described as the “longest lived and most influential American organization of its kind.” 49  With members like Ralph Bunche, who became Associate Chief of the State Department’s Division of Dependent Affairs and a UN Deputy Secretary General, Paul Robeson, world class actor and singer, Mordecai W. Johnson, Howard University President, Max Yergan, a YMCA official with seventeen years of experience in Africa, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., the Harlem Congressman, Dubois, and an elite group of Ph.D.’s, the Council was guaranteed a high degree of access to U.S. political institutions and policy makers.  It advocated independence for African countries and in 1950, made an unprecedented demand for South Africa’s expulsion from the United Nations  50 A group, American for South African Resistance, was formed in 1952. The American Negro Leadership Conference on Africa (ANLCA) was organized in 1962 to promote civil rights in America and independence in Africa. 51


Other African American leaders like Martin Luther King also spoke out against apartheid in South Africa. Indeed while King’s civil rights activities in the U.S. are well known, little is known about his contributions to the antiapartheid movements.  In fact most people think that he was so preoccupied with the struggle against racism and segregation in America that he had no time to make a contribution to the struggle against racism and white minority rule in South Africa.


Nothing could be further from the truth.  Right from the very beginning of public ministry, King recognized the connection between the civil rights and antiapartheid movements; and he acted by seeking the upliftment of the poor and oppressed in South Africa in the 1950’s and 1960’s by (1) developing a friendship with Albert Luthuli, and admiration and respect for antiapartheid activists like Nelson Mandela and Robert Sobukwe.  In a letter to Luthuli, he wrote: “Our struggle for freedom in the U.S. is not fundamentally different from that going on in South Africa.  We share a common destiny.”52  Luthuli’s letter to King shows the strong bonds between the Blacks of Africa and America: “My Negro friends,” he wrote, “were eager to hear about South Africa, and their readiness to help resolved itself many times to the question: Can we come over there to assist you. 53 (2) Lending support to antiapartheid groups:  In 1960, King condemned the Sharpeville massacre and asked the U.S. government to impose diplomatic and economic sanctions against South Africa. 54 Together with the African Committee on Africa (ACOA), he called for the recall of the American Ambassador in Pretoria, the mobilization of U.S. public opinion, and consumer boycott of South African goods, pressure on U.S. private companies in South Africa and on U.S. policy makers to compel South Africa to abandon apartheid, and, finally, to raise legal defense and welfare funds for victims of apartheid. 55  In 1964, King and the American Negro Leadership Conference on Africa (ANLCA) appealed to the Johnson administration to “take a firm stand against South Africa, prohibit future American investments there, and endorse an unsponsored oil embargo against the apartheid state.”  56


The tradition of African American opposition to apartheid continued in the 1970s among Black secular and religious organizations.  At Howard University in May 1972, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) sponsored an ANLCA meeting, which inter alia, “proposed the establishment of a national black strategy on Africa and a nationwide program of support for African liberation struggles.” 57


1976 and 1986 and the years between them were crucial in the efforts of antiapartheid groups to dismantle the apartheid system in South Africa.  Between those two years, powerful and dynamic social, political and economic forces propelled by unpredictable historic forces, coalesced and conspired to change forever the “realities on the ground,” and ultimately and unalterably, transformed the liberation movement in South Africa and the antiapartheid forces in America.


In South Africa, the crucial event was the Soweto Massacre of June 16, 1976 when the South African police shot into a group of 15,000 school children in Soweto peacefully protesting the government’s ruling that half of all classes in secondary schools must be taught in Afrikaans,” the national language of the Boers, the creators and apostles of apartheid.  About 1,000 pupils were killed and over 5,000 injured. 58


The fallout from the Soweto massacre was felt both in the U.S. and South Africa.  Within South Africa it led to: (1) the hardening of the belief of black students and adults that violence was necessary to end apartheid.  (2) It led to the exodus from South Africa of about 10,000 students for guerilla training. 59 in Tanzania, Angola, and Mozambique or education in Europe or America.  (3) It shifted the focus of resistance to a younger generation and a more dispersed leadership.


Soweto’s impact in the U.S. was equally remarkable, and led to the application of more pressure on Pretoria by American antiapartheid activists, especially African American secular and religious organizations.  In 1976, the Congressional Black Caucus “produced the Afro-American Manifesto on Southern Africa, a document that allied Black Americans to the goals of African liberation in that region.” 60 In 1977, Rev. Leon Sullivan introduced the Sullivan Principles, a code that “asked U.S. companies in South Africa to desegregate facilities, pay equal wages to Blacks, improve job training and advancement and the quality of their workers’ lives.”


But the Sullivan’s Principles were vehemently condemned by some African American church leaders.  At a summit meeting of black church leaders in New York in 1979, Rev. William Jones, Jr., of the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC), decried the Sullivan code as “well-intentioned but no longer sufficient,” especially since “the very presence of United States corporations in South Africa serves to legitimize the apartheid system of white supremacy.”  In a paper entitled “A Theological Basis for Armed Struggle,” the PNBC president, justified resort to violence in South Africa because: “Genocide, on a massive scale, is being practiced in South Africa. To be non-violent in the contest of genocide is to affirm violence and is tantamount to alliance with the adversary.  To resist, by whatever means necessary, is the only sane and spiritual response to anyone who calls himself Christian."  61 And under the leadership of Reverend Wyatt Tee Walker, King’s Chief of Staff during the civil rights movement, the International Freedom Mobilization Against Apartheid, a Black religious leaders’ lobby, “was organized to seal their unequivocal opposition to Sullivan.” The church leaders, who represented 38 states and 50 cities, went beyond moral protest and “took the additional political step of declaring support for the African National Congress (ANC), the antiapartheid movement of South Africa.” 62


The 1970’s also saw the tragic murder in South African police custody of Steve Biko (1977), the Black Consciousness leader and the founding in 1978 of Transafrica, 63 a black lobby that stunned the world by playing a primary role in the destruction of apartheid.




American politics - domestic or foreign - is interest group politics.  And the obviously divisive and often virulently competitive nature of this politics has been a source of contention and fascination among scholars.  In the foreign policy realm, the relationship between groups and U.S. foreign policy is equally controversial.  However, since the publication of the Snyder framework, scholars have identified five types of foreign policy behavior, systematic, environmental, societal, governmental, and idiosyncratic or psychological.  64


Scholars of the societal school, like Dahl and Almond, see the foreign policy behavior of a state in terms of its domestic sources, that is, from “national character,” a national “model personality,” or from “political culture.”  Both explain foreign policy in the context of the influence of American domestic groups.  For Dahl,  65  the problems of U.S. foreign policy is a product of the nature of American society, which has witnessed an incredible increase in the impact of that policy on many groups in a social and political milieu of mass democracy.  The vibrancy of America’s mass democratic system, he writes, has two implications for U.S. foreign policy.  First, it compels policy makers to cater to a broad and diverse range of interest groups who lobby strenuously for the inclusion of their interests in the making of foreign policy. Second, it forces policy makers to be overly concerned with the possible implications of policy on virtually every strata of society.  Dahl states that when groups hold strong ideological positions on issues and act on them they are most likely to have a strong influence on Foreign policy; indeed their intensity tends to outweigh the influence of larger groups that fail to act on their views. He, however, warns of the danger of equating interest group activity with influence.  Dahl asserts that attempts should be made “to test propositions about indirect influence and vertical relations on policy of group participation in the larger political process of opinion formation.”


For Almond, the attitudes and opinions of Americans should not be seen merely as responses to objective problems and situations, but rather as conditioned by culturally imposed qualities of character, which he summarized as tending to be “atomistic rather than corporate, worldly rather than unworldly, highly mobile rather than traditional, compulsive rather than relaxes, and externally directed rather than autonomous.” 66


Almond discusses the shortcomings of both scholars and elites as participants in the foreign policy debate.  Scholars of public opinion and foreign policy, he observes, fall into the democratic error of “minimizing the inherent social and political stratification of influence of American polities.”  They fail to differentiate analytically between the impact on foreign policy of a traditionally apathetic “general public” and a generally knowledgeable and active “attentive public,” whom he calls the “influential.”  He divides foreign policy elites into “political elites,” bureaucratic elites,” “interest elites,” and “communications elites.”  Of all these groups, Almond identifies the most effective opinion leaders as the “vast number of vocational, community, and institutional “notables,” known and trusted men and women - clergymen and influential lay churchmen and women, teachers and the like - with a permanent following.”


Using the communications process, scholars like Cohen and Milbrath, have analyzed the influence of interest in the making of foreign policy.  Cohen states that the absence of empirical research in-group dynamics has led to a “legend” of interest group influence on foreign policy.  He distinguishes between “mere support” and “major support.”  The problem of measuring influence may be exacerbated by the possibility that some interest groups may exercise significant influence even by their “silence,” that is, when such a posture indicates a preference for a status quo position.


According to Cohen, 67 most interest groups get involved in foreign policy making process in order to change the political climate and except influence on policy.  Their success, however, depends on a variety of factors: the issue must be in the “public eye;” it must deal with a very narrow subject or with technical instead of political issues; and it must be submerged in more dramatic or compelling issues of foreign or domestic policy so that the “attentive public” is so small that interest groups can easily stake the legitimacy of their interests.  All the same, the author asserts that the influence of interest groups on foreign policy issues is limited to the “area of their special policy interest.”


For groups to have maximum influence on policy, Cohen observes that two critical factors must be noted.  First, they must have access to congressmen and be able to issue electoral threats, especially “when the interest groups involved are organizationally and numerically from important elements in political strategic constituencies.  Second, there must be an “ideological connection” between the “would-be-influential” and the policy makers since the latter tend to lend their support to groups with whom they share ideological or political affinity.


Cohen, however, warns that while some groups are influential on certain issues, all groups, even the most powerful, often fail to influence policy.  Nowhere is this failure more common, he asserts, than in “large national organizations commonly placed in the categories of civic, professional, fraternal, women, ideological, and even religious groups,” which he claims, fail most of the time as they attempt to influence foreign policy.  Certain groups also lack influence because of “institutional or situational factors.”  Moreover, for real influence to exist, a group’s interest must be recognized as legitimate by policy makers with whom they must share a “congruence of opinion and sentiment.”  Equally important to group influence is the “consonance of the policy being advocated by a group with prevailing temper of the times,” i.e. the political atmosphere must be conducive to interest group pressures.


For Milbrath, interest group influence is basically “a communications process between citizens and governments as they make foreign policy decisions.” 68  He states that before any influence can occur, the “influencee” must receive and consider a message from “influencer.”  But, whereas all transmissions of influence constitute some form of message, he writes, “not all communications transmit influence, some transmit only information.” Milbrath also insists that decisions on foreign policy that involve direct, visible (usually economic) rewards and/or punishments to different sections of the society tend to be shared by the President and Congress.  They also tend to be “social” rather than “intellectual” in process and to stimulate more lobbying by groups at various points of access.  According to him, groups desiring to influence policy must meet three conditions for success.  First, they should be able to identify the major actors involved in the decisions and the various stages through which their deliberation must pass.  Second, the groups must have access to the decision makers.  Third, they must make sure that their messages penetrate the “perceptual screen” of the decision makers by passing the “legitimacy and credibility tests.”  A decision maker considers a message legitimate if he believes that the interest group has a right to lobby him on the issue.  He considers a message credible if the relevant interest group has a reputation for honesty and accuracy.  A message may also attain credibility by the sheer force of the idea or argument it contains.


A major turning point on group influence on U.S. Southern Africa policy was the publication in 1974 of Ogene’s Interest Groups and the Shaping of Foreign policy, 69  In this seminal work, the author applies the interest group phenomenon to the U.S. foreign policy making process in Africa.  He identifies the groups interested in Africa, their interests and foreign policy preferences, lobbying tactics, level of influence on U.S. policy on African issues, and factors that determine that influence.


For Ogene, groups exert influence on U.S. policy on African issues in six ways: (1) By affecting developments within African societies, groups affect the external environment of U.S. foreign policy and thereby place some constraints on that policy; (2) By acting as direct and credible sources of information for policy makers, or by articulating interest in African problems; (3) Through the conscious or unconscious transformation of group interests into the interests and goals of governmental decision making units; (4) By supporting or opposing alternative policies; (5) By facilitating or obstructing the implementation of decisions already made; (6) By promoting or modifying the intended effect of a decision, groups affect the subsequent feedback information and policy review.


Finally, Ogene identifies four determinants of group influence on foreign policy: (1) the most important factor is the “control and use of such resources as funds, prestige, and lobbying skills.”  The conventionality and the group’s interest in an African issue also contribute to its influence.  (2) The desire and will to exert influence are important.  However, policy makers do indeed consider a group’s interest without its effort to influence policy.  (3) The availability of channels and a group’s efficient use of them are also important determinants of group influence.  Interest group links among government groups are very important.  (4) White groups with “tangible” i.e. economic resources are more influential than those with “social” i.e. non-economic resources, those who possess both have the most influence on foreign policy.


A common strain is apparent in the work of these foreign policy theorists: the predominance of scholarly interest in white secular interest groups and issue-areas and the total neglect of Black groups, especially African American churches and Africa-related issues.  This neglect is unfortunate, especially given the progressive role these groups have historically played in the decolonization process in Africa.  It is also hoped this study will fill in the “gaping gap.”




In America, the relationship between religion and politics “have always been intertwined,” the requirements of the separation clause notwithstanding.  It is also controversial.  Thus scholars have expressed both positive and negative views of religious groups, their leaders and institutions as to their proper roles in society.  Religious groups “maintain political stability by either service to existing order by urging devotion to it, or service to it by helping its victims to find consolation in the visions of another world.” 70 Churches can also act as “change agents,” transforming structures of oppression to those of liberation. 71


But other scholars disagree. For example, one sees religious leaders as “bearers of moral and political idealism…are susceptible to millennial hopes, and thereby lay the ground work for cynical rejections and disillusionments among their charges.”  He indicts clergymen for exhibiting “a penchant for escapism, which often lies at the basis of their choice of these professions.” 72


Scholars are equally divided on the role of African American Churches in American society.  One places the black church and its pastor at the center of black life. 73  The black church tradition of service to its people,” he states, “is documented in our history books, and poetry, our drama and our worship.  This tradition will not permit us to separate ourselves from our African heritage, which is characterized by sharing of resources and talents by all.  Therefore, the black church and the community it serves are one in the spirit of God, who does not differentiate between the secular and the sacred and who binds us inseparably to one another.” 74  Johnston places African American Churches at the center of the civil rights movement, and the freedom struggle as an “adjunct to black Christianity because it was precisely through biblical stories, the Negro spirituals, and the event of the worship of God in their own idiom, that blacks knew the experience of being bound together in the family of a loving Creator and Redeemer who destined them to break the bonds of oppression, to open the doors of the prison, and let the prisoners go free.”75  Gary T. Marx argues, “it was from the church that many leaders were exposed to a broad range of ideas legitimizing protest and obtained the savior faire, self-confidence, and organizational experience needed to challenge an oppressive system.”


Some black intellectuals like Dubois, however, often pointed out problems within African American Christianity.  “Everybody knows,” opined the famous black author and radical, “that the Negro church has a large number of disreputable scoundrels in its ministry.  Against these venal, immoral men - the indirect heritage of the slave regime - the forces of honesty and uplift in the church are fighting and making gradual headway.  But they have not won.” 76  Indeed there was no place in the world where Christianity attracted such a sustained and demoralizing attack from former members than in black communities of the U.S, especially among the Black Moslems.  These anti-clericalists were often led by an intelligentia that identified religion with ignorance and superstition and so looked down on preachers as the “lickspittle of their white masters.” 77  Black Christianity was seen as consisting of “blood-sucking preachers and their churches” who were ‘draining off the wealth of the community and making no contribution to the struggle." 78 


In foreign policy per se, most researchers have historically ignored the African American input for a variety of reasons: (1) Blacks belong to the “apathetic general public that is indifferent to foreign affairs.  (2) They occupy a subordinate position in America’s power structure and are not “organizationally and numerically from important elements in political strategic constituencies.”  In fact in their book Why South Africa Will Survive, L.S. Gann and Peter Duignan reiterate this position.  According to them, African Americans constitute the “weakest link” in the antiapartheid movement because “they have not, until now, been able to mobilize their strength to anything like its full potential.” 79  Black Americans, the authors contend, are unable to rally over South Africa because they “have no real religious, linguistic or cultural links with Africa.” Moreover, “to help the revolution abroad, black Americans first have to join the establishment at home.”  (3) They lack “ideological connection with foreign policy making elites.  (4) They lack “tangible” i.e. economic resources, the “oxygen of lobbying.  (5) Most scholars have not only shallow knowledge of the black community, they also lack theological training often necessary for an in-depth study of the arena and mysterious world of religion and spirituality and its relationship to politics.





The 1980’s were a decade of destiny for the antiapartheid opponents in general and for people of African descent in Africa and in the Diaspora in particular.  It was a decade that set in motion forces that would ultimately and politically bring to an end European colonialism in Africa with its assumptions about white superiority and black inferiority.


Ironically, this “decade of destiny” began inauspiciously with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and his determination on the assumption of power in 1981, to bring about a radical change in the content and context of U.S. domestic and foreign policies.  In the domestic arena, he introduced massive social welfare cuts that hurt minorities, the poor, and the disabled, and gave huge tax cuts to the rich and wealthy, thus provoking a high level of racial and class antagonism unknown since the heydays of the civil rights movement.


In foreign policy, the Reagan administration embraced a rabid anti-communism unknown since the days of McCarthyism, which saw the Soviet Union as the “Evil Empire” and the source of all the world’s problems.  Reagan saw it as his divine and historic mandate to confront and contain this “evil force.”


Understandably, the “Gipper’s” extreme foreign policy views were shared by Chester Crocker, his Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, who in fact applied them to South Africa. Called “constructive engagement,” 80 and conceived and implemented by the former Georgetown University Political Science Professor, the Reagan policy emphasized the importance of South Africa as “a focal point of the region, and as an actor whose ties should be strengthened with its neighbors.”  It saw the Cuban presence in Angola as “totally anathema to American interests,” and UNITA as “a major actor in Southern Africa and one of whom the U.S. has to take into account.”  Consequently, that Republican administration saw South Africa as a friend and ally and was unprepared to abandon “a country that has stood by us in every war we’ve ever fought, a country that is strategically essential to the free world in its production of minerals we all must have an so forth.” 81  Thus, in order to encourage evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary change, Crocker proposed a solution: the U.S. should “engage constructively” with moderate African leaders so as to remove or neutralize the military presence and influence of East bloc countries in Southern Africa.  Thus was born the policy of constructive engagement, which like an earthquake shook the internal politics of America and South Africa.

As soon as Reagan came into power, the policy of constructive engagement took immediate effect in the increase of economic and military relations between Pretoria and Washington: for the first time, the U.S. became the premier exporter to, and importer from, South Africa to the tune of about $4.2 billion, an increase of over 24% from the Carter administration.  In November 1981, Reagan supported a $1.1 billion credit to South Africa despite Congregational Black Caucus opposition.  Thus, from January 1981 to June 1982, U.S. bank loans to South Africa increased by 246% bailing out the apartheid regime when it was in great economic crisis.


The Reagan administration also broke with delicate and traditional American military relations with South Africa when it allowed five South African military officials, including the Chief of Military Intelligence, to make a secret visit to the U.S. in March 1981 and meet American officials.  In 1982, the U.S. lifted the ban on the sale of “non-military” equipment to the South African military and police, and loosened restrictions on nuclear related exports to Pretoria in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  CIA Director William Casey visited South Africa in September 1982 to bolster Pretoria’s security needs.  82


Two other events also emboldened the Reagan administration in its pro-South American policy.  One was the Republican takeover of the Senate in 1983, the other its landslide victory in the presidential election of 1984.


Meanwhile, in South Africa, the white minority regime interpreted the policy of constructive engagement and the Reagan re-election as giving it carte blanche to engage in one of the most brutal and repressive crackdowns in its already bloody and murderous history.  Pretoria’s objectives were four-fold: (1) To destroy the liberation movement in South Africa; (2) To co-opt those leaders in South Africa it could; (3) To repress those unwilling to cooperate; (4) To prepare for total war - economic and military. 83


Pretoria was also on warpath, waging undeclared wars in Mozambique, and Zambia, where its forces sought to destroy Black South African Freedom Fighters undergoing military training in preparation for sabotage forays into the racist enslave.  In Mozambique, they bombed the country into submission forcing the leadership to sign the infamous Nkomati Accord on March 16, 1984.  And “when the South African army invaded Angola, the United States was the only nation to veto the resolution condemning the South African government for that action.”  84


In March 1984, Black South African students held non-violent demonstrations against the inferior school system that trained and prepared then to work only in mines and factories while reserving the superior educational institutions for the minority white students, which trained them to manage the economy and run the government.  In response to their protests, 134 were gunned down, and the students’ leaders were arrested.  In early November 1984, the black trade union movement called the biggest strike in South Africa’s history in which some 3,000 workers supported by 4,000 students, closed down the Johannesburg area for two days.  By 1985, civil strife had spread to the Eastern Cape and other parts of the country, leading to a potential total breakdown of law and order.  The response of South African security forces was bloody and brutal: about 1,000 blacks were slaughtered by the end of the year.


American church leaders from 24 denominations reacted to the South African emergency by mounting a major campaign in order to compel the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive sanctions against South Africa.  They established the Churches’ Emergency Committee on Southern Africa, 85   which was made up of about 40 people including virtually the heads of various African American denominations: Bishop Cousin (AMEC), Dr. Jamieson (NBC), C.J. Malloy (PNBC), Bishop Patterson (Church of God), and others.  The Committee, which  met several times, held a major rally on Capitol Hill on the eve of the vote on CAAA.  Three days prior to the vote, about 300 people from every state in the U.S. descended on Washington, DC for the rally and to lobby their Congressmen to vote for the passage of CAAA.  Dr. Marshall Lorenzo Shepard (PNBC) was on of the co-chairs of the Committee. 86




With the Republican takeover of the Senate in 1983, Reagan’s landslide presidential victory in 1984, coupled with his astronomical popularity ratings, the “Great Communicator” seemed invisible and constructive engagement appeared irreversible.  A feeling of cynicism and helplessness pervaded progressive political circles in America.  And there was confusion as to the most effective strategy of confronting the phenomenon of a reactionary “teflon” president.


The two men, who took on the challenge of confronting the Reagan “revolution” and its policy of constructive engagement, had a lot in common.  Both are graduates of Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia, and attended Ivy League Universities.  Fauntroy, a Baptist minister and pastor, went to Yale Divinity School.  Robinson, a lawyer as well as the Executive Director of Transafrica, is an alumnus of Harvard.  Both have connections to the U.S. Congress.  Fauntroy was a Congressman, Robinson, a congressional aide to Charles Diggs, the founder of the Congressional Black Caucus and the former Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa in the 1970’s.


Rev. Fauntroy, a Washington, DC native, was appointed pastor of his childhood home church, New Bethel Baptist in 1959.  But “his distinguished career of public service began in 1961 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. appointed him Director of the Washington Bureau of the Southern Leadership Conference.” 87  In 1963, he was the Washington, DC Coordinator for the historic March on Washington, which influenced the passing of both the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  Fauntroy was also the Coordinator of the “Selma-to-Montgomery March 1965.”  President Lyndon Johnson appointed him Vice Chair of the Council of the District of Columbia in 1967, and he represented the District  in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1971 to 1991. A member of the House Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee, Fauntroy was also the Chair of the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and of the Banking Subcommittee on International Development.

While lacking Fauntroy’s unimpeachable civil rights credentials, Robinson joined the antiapartheid struggle with missionary zeal and excellent knowledge and experience of African affairs.  He had chosen as his lifetime career the “empowerment and liberation of the African world,” 88 organized the Southern African Relief Fund, which raised and distributed relief funds and gave military support to African liberation movements fighting Portuguese colonialism as well as white minority regimes in South Africa, Namibia, and Rhodesia, lived in Tanzania for six months on a Ford Foundation grant, and worked as an aide to Congressman Charles Diggs, Jr., 89 Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa.  In that position, he had met and discussed Southern African issues with U.S. Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Cyrus Vance, and visited Lesotho through South Africa to attend a Conference on Southern African issues. He addressed the OAU in 1981, “only the second American after Malcolm X to be so honored.”


But for both Fauntroy and Robinson, the need to confront and overturn Reagan’s policy of constructive arose out of two different epiphanies.  For the Yale Divinity School graduate, it began “back in 1982 when Coretta Scott King talked to me about the 20th Anniversary of the March on Washington and the need for a coalition of conscience like the one that had moved the nation 20 years before to deal with basic problems - segregation and discrimination - that confronted us at that time.”  Using the Black Leadership Family, a group consisting of about 150 black organizations, which he had helped to organize, a four-pronged attack was devised: (1) To go on the defense against cuts in those programs that improve the quality of life for American people and blacks in particular.  (2) To go on the offense by presenting constructive alternatives to Reagan’s policies.  (3) To mobilize African American voters in about 115 Congressional districts with more than 10% of the population and could influence their Congressmen.  (4) To create a coalition with others whose interests coincide with those of blacks.  90


The “coalition of conscience,” which emerged, included not only members of the old civil rights groups of the 1960’s - churches, civil rights, and labor - but also new ones - peace activists, environmentalists, the Hispanic movement, and the Women’s rights movement. Fauntroy also contacted Jesse Jackson and the PUSH organization to facilitate the internationalization of the struggle. Consequently,  in the summer of 1983, 500,000 people attended the 20th Anniversary of the March on Washington.  The coalition identified fourteen pieces of legislation for passage in Congress.  Among those were the Martin Luther King Holiday bill and the William Gray amendment, which banned new investments by American Corporations in South Africa.


For the Harvard Law School graduate, it was a mysterious telephone call he received in May 1981 that galvanized him into action.  In it an anonymous caller had told him: “…I am with the United States Department of State…I have possession of classified State Department documents that describe the framework for a new alliance between the United States and the Republic of South Africa…” 91 After retrieving and reading the documents, Robinson handed them over to the Washington Post; they made the front page of the Post on May 29, 1981.


But even before they met in September 1984, both Fauntroy and Robinson were well - aware of two South African realities: First, that the already repressive situation in the country had deteriorated. Second that since orthodox political tactics had woefully failed impress either Reagan or Botha, the brutal South African president, whose latest outrage was the arrest of virtually all all black trade union leaders, drastic action had to be taken.  So the lawyer sought out the pastor-politician in September 1984 to discuss strategies on how to confront the Reagan’s South Africa policy. Two “co-conspirators” were added to the group: Dr. Mary Frances Berry, a lawyer, college professor, and member of the US Civil Service Commission, and Eleanor Holmes Norton, “a nationally prominent Georgetown law professor, former chairman of the Equal Empolyment Service Commission, and member of several Fortune 500 corporate boards.” (Norton later replaced Fauntroy as Washington, DC representative).  The result was the re-invention of a “n-used” strategy called the “politics of creative tension” 92 or “first amendment politics,” and embraced the use of peaceful, non-violent direct action tactics - demonstrations, marches, sit-ins, and imprisonment - to “prick the conscience of the American body politic.”  These tactics had proved their effectiveness in the 1960’s, facilitating the passage of the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  But whether they would be equally effective in the 1980’s was open to question.  Cynics taunted its proponents as dreamers who were out of touch with reality.  But hardly did they know that the stage was set for the most important foreign policy victory by African Americans in American history.


After several strategy sessions, a decision to arrange a “visit” and to stage a sit-in at the South African embassy in Washington, DC was taken.  Consequently, the group met the South African Ambassador to the U.S., Bernadus G. Fourie, on November 21, 1984.  93 Recollections vary as to how this meeting was put together. While Robinson remembers that it was the embassy that chose this date after canceling a previous appointment, 94 Fauntroy’s recollection is different.  According to him, the decision to meet the Ambassador on November 21, 1984 was no accident.  It was deliberately chosen and primed for maximum impact on primetime T.V.  For whereas Fourie would have preferred an earlier date, the group had insisted on having the meeting on Thanksgiving Eve, November 21, 1984 by 2:00 p.m. - four hours before prime time-on “a slow press day in the nation’s capital.” 95 The intention was to give the “sit-in” wide publicity for maximum impact on U.S. South African policy.  “We chose November 21,” Fauntroy stated, “because it’s a down time for the media.  We had to keep rather quiet, because we would not have been allowed in the embassy if they had any idea what we were going to do..." 96


On the appointed date, the antiapartheid activists staged a “sit-in” at the South African embassy, were arrested, handcuffed, and taken to jail amidst a blaze of T.V. cameras, radio networks, the wire services, and every important news publication in America.  The media had been tipped off about the drama at the embassy.  Behind the media and jamming the sidewalks in front of the embassy were demonstrators chanting “Freedom Yes!  Apartheid No!” 97 They were organized by Cecilie Counts, Robinson's chief organizer and strategist.


November 23, 1984 - two days after the “sit-in” - Fauntroy, Robinson, Berry, and Norton announced the founding of the Free South Africa Movement (FSM). 98  Its principal objective would be the passage of comprehensive economic sanctions against South Africa.” 99 And whereas the organizers had planned for only one week of demonstrations, they lasted for over one year spreading throughout the country.  More than 3,00 people were arrested in Washington DC at the South African embassy, and more than 2,000 at South African consulates in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago, and in other cities. They included Senator Lowell Weicker, the Republican from Connecticut and the "first and only US Senator arrested in an act of civil disobedience," 100 and several Congressmen, clergy, school children, students, and professionals from various walks of life. A  Howard University School of Divinity Professor who brought his students for demonstration at the South African embassy two days after the arrest of Washington, DC Mayor Marion Barry at the same embassy only found out that he had security officers in his class when two men excused themselves “because they were policemen." 101  About five weeks later, the Dean of the same school brought virtually all the Divinity students to the embassy for demonstrations.. 102. On the whole, over 5,000 demonstrators had been arrested nationally by the end of 1985.  103 Demonstrators at the South African embassy in Washington, DC were a little luckier than the rest: Mayor Barry asked the Police Department “ not to have police record on the offence. If you just show your id you’re out.” 104


By early 1986, the successful antiapartheid bills of William Gray, Ronald Dellums, Stephen Solarz, Julian Dixon, Charles Rangel had been combined into one, passed in the House, and sent to the Senate, which had also consolidated the initiatives of Edward Kennedy, Richard Lugar, Nancy Kassebaum, and others, and passed it by a vote of 84-17. The Senate also consolidated the two bills, convinced the House to bypass a conference committee, and sent it to Reagan by a vote of 308-77 on September 12, 1986. On September 26, Reagan vetoed the bill. On September 29, the House overrode the president's veto by a vote of 313-83. On October 2, 1986, the Senate did the same by a vote of 78-21 and passed the CAAA of 1986. 105 This marked the third time in recent American history that Congress has overridden a presidential veto on a major foreign policy issue 106 This historic legislation banned inter alia all US import of South African iron, steel, coal, uranium, textiles, agricultural products, and the sale of kruggerrands. It also banned new loans and investment in South Africa and forbade South Africa airlines from landing in the US.





The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC)


The African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in Philadelphia on April 12, 1787, “as a result of discrimination against the black members of the St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church and in protest of slavery.”  The leader of this protest group was a 27-year-old “African,” Richard Allen, who along with Absalom Jones and others organized the Free African Society (FAS), a “beneficial and mutual aid society” that soon spread to other U.S. cities.  The Bethel AME Church, also called Mother Bethel, was formalized in Philadelphia on July 7, 1791 and formalized on July 17, 1794.  The AMEC was officially established on April 16, 1816 with Richard Allen as its first bishop.


With 3.5 million members in 8000 churches in the U.S., Africa, the Caribbean, Canada, Latin American, and Europe, the AMEC, which is divided into 19 districts, has the largest number of African American churches in Africa.  107


The AMEC is run according to the traditional Methodist administrative structure and is made up of five bodies: (1) The General Conference, its supreme body, is the supreme body of the denomination and meets every four years to address the concerns of its members.  (2) The Council of Bishops, the executive branch of the church, oversees the overall life of the church during the interim between general conferences.  (3) The General Board of Trustees supervises all connectional (church) property.  (4) The General Bord serves as the administrative body of AMEC and is composed of various departmental representatives.  (5) The Judicial Council is AMEC’s highest judiciary body. But much of the denomination’s work is done through its commissions of which there are eleven.  Among them is the Social Action Commission, which deals with civil, and human rights issues.  It does not have a budget.





The PNBC, 108  an Association of Baptist Churches worldwide, “is committed to the mandate of making disciples for Christ,” and is founded on the precepts of fellowship, service, progress and peace.”  It is an outgrowth of the dissatisfaction of members of the National Baptist Convention, Inc. (NBC) over “TENURE” and the need for a term limit to the Office of the Executive Secretary of the NBC. For Rev. L.N. Booth, pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, who together with 33 delegates from 14 states, founded the PNBC, “one of the cardinal principles that led to the formation of the convention in November 196194 was the prohibition of the holding of lifetime offices within the organization.  Efforts were also made to neutralize the emergence of a cult of personality with the denomination.  Thus, Progressives “strongly advocate and faithfully practice freedom of opportunity, equal access to office and the broadest possible participation of all its members.”


A primary area of PNBC stewardship is the struggle for civil rights and human rights.  It was “formed to give full voice, sterling leadership and active support to the American and world fight for human freedom.”  While rejected by the traditional black Baptist leaders, the PNBC gave Martin Luther King a denominational home and platform in his civil rights crusade.  King addressed every annual session of the Convention until his death in 1968.”


As a vital Baptist denomination of over 1800 churches, total memberships of 2.5 million, and with key African American leaders like the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Benjamin Hooks, the Rev. William Gray III, and the Rev. Walter Fauntroy, as members, the PNBC is “the best among all Baptists in its identification with and support of human rights.”  Divided, into five regions: Eastern, Midwestern, Southwestern, Southern, and International, the PNBC holds an Annual Convention in August and a midwinter session in January.  Through its Agencies, Boards, Commissions, Departments, and other groups, the mandates of the Convention are carried out throughout the year.


One such organization is the Civil Rights Commission, which “monitors civil rights abuses, (and) prepares resolutions and messages that respond to concerns.”  It is made up of 10-15 members - all appointed by the president.  The president also appoints the chairman, of the commission.  Rev. Otis Moss, the present chairman, also headed the group in the 1980’s, during the heydays of the antiapartheid movement in the U.S.  Unfortunately, the Civil Rights Commission has no budget. 




The CNBC is an ecumenical coalition of eight historically Black denominations “built on the premise that despite doctrinal differences, the common goals of each denomination would hold the organization together.”  A key aspect of these goals is that “each of the eight denominations joined together in collective and collaborative efforts to serve, support, sustain and empower the African American community.”  The mission of the CNBC is primarily to foster Christian unity, charity and fellowship and to “collaborate with ministries that promote justice, wholeness, and fulfillment and affirm the moral and spiritual values of our faith in Jesus Christ.”


Founded in 1978 by Bishop John Hurst Adams  109 of the AMEC along with representatives from other historic African American denominations, its purpose is to “bring together national black religious leadership to establish dialogue across denominational lines.”  With headquarters in Washington, DC, the CNBC is made up of a coalition of these historically black denominations: African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Christian Methodist Episcopal, Church of God in Christ, National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc., National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, and Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.


The CNBC, which follows the tradition of the old Fraternal Council of Negro Churches, the last ecumenical organization of black denominations, represents 65,000 churches with a membership of over 20 million.  It has a staff of about 20 people and a budget of $5 million - mostly from public and private grants, and dues from member denominations.  It has, as its present Chairman of the Board is Bishop Cecil Bishop.  Ms. Sullivan Robinson is the Executive Secretary.  Each member denomination is represented on the Board by four people and about eight consultants. The Board on Church and Society handles public policy issues. It has no budget.



The PNBC and South Africa


The radical tradition of utilizing the moral power of Christianity to transform society “has been preserved in the contemporary era by the Progressive National Baptist Convention.”  And no foreign policy issue attracted the attention of the church as U. S. policy toward South Africa.  Until the defeat of apartheid and the installation of democracy in South Africa, the PNBC has over the decades declared in statements, resolutions, annual Conventions, and by its activities vehement opposition to apartheid and unalloyed support for black majority rule.


But as the white minority regime, emboldened by Reagan’s policy of constructive engagement, inflicted more terror on its hapless black majority population in the 1980’s, PNBC’s denunciations increased.  At its 23rd Annual Convention held in 1984, 110 inter alia  (1) Condemned South African apartheid, racism and violence. (2) Condemned the disenfranchisement of Blacks in South Africa (3)Called for the immediate end of apartheid (3) Called for the release of all political prisoners and the development of a non-racial democratic government (4) Called for sanctions and disinvestments of companies, businesses, and governments until justice and democracy are met.  The resolution of the 24th Convention held in 1985 111 was similar in language to that of the previous year with one exception:  It appealed to members to participate in peaceful non-violent demonstrations at the South African Embassy in Washington D.C. and at its various consulates across the country.  The 1986 Convention - the 25th annual session was virtually a repetition of the appeals of the previous years.


That the evil nature of apartheid in South Africa loomed large in the minds and consciousness of PNBC leaders is evident from the importance it was given and the unanimity it inspired at the Conventions.  It was almost always the subject of discussion at the PNBC Executive Board Sessions held on the first and last day of the Convention.  After the presentation of resolutions and recommendations, which were traditionally supportive of black majority rule and opposed to white minority rule in South Africa, pastors were given the chance to voice their opinions on the issue.  It is to the credit of the denomination that “not one single pastor was ever opposed to a resolution against the apartheid regime”.


In fact unlike some other timid and non-activist churches who saw little value in Christian participation in public agitation, PNBC leadership facilitated the participation of the members in public demonstrations against apartheid South Africa.  In fact the chairman of its Civil Rights Commission had a lot of latitude in organizing demonstrations. All he had to do was: (1) Check with the PNBC President (2) Check with the Executive Secretary (3) Get pastors and ministers to sign up





Among African American Baptists, the PNBC played a leadership role in the antiapartheid movement.  The denomination also had probably, “the largest group of activist pastors” during both the civil rights and antiapartheid struggles.  One top PNBC official once jokingly said that “all the bomb throwers are in our Convention.” 112  Among leading members of the church who were active participants in the South African movement were Dr. Wyatt Walker, Chief of Staff to Martin Luther King, Jr., Congressman Walter Fauntroy, another King associate and confidante, Rev. J. Alfred J. Smith, Dr. Joseph Robert, Congressman William Gray, one of the first sponsors of an antiapartheid legislator in Congress, Dr. Joseph Robert, Dr. William A. Jones, Dr. Gardner C.  Taylor, Dr. Fred Lofton, the late Dr. Thomas Kilgore, Rev. Otis Moss and the incomparable Dr. Marshall Lorenzo Shepard, Jr. and others.


Prior to the passage of the CAAA in 1986, Rev. Otis Moss, the incumbent Chairman of Morehouse College Board of Trustees as well as the Civil Rights Commission of the PNBC, who was then chairman of the Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent change, was mandated by the church to organize a group of ministers to go to Washington, D.C. to protest against the white minority regime in South Africa. 113  On the night before the demonstration, at the South African Embassy, a mass meeting was held at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. whose pastor is Dr. H. B. Hicks.  It was mostly a planning and orientation meeting which was made easier by the presence of ministers, most of whom were veterans of the civil rights movement, and had horned their skills in the tactics of active non-violent agitation.  During the meeting, Rev. Moss reminded the ministers that (1) The demonstration must be conducted within the context of non-violence (2) They were demonstrating as representatives of the gospel of Jesus Christ (3) The demonstration should be in concert with the goals of the ANC demanding that (a) A new constitution be created for South Africa (b) The ANC be unbanned (c) All political prisoners be freed including Nelson Mandela and others (d) Violence and brutality from the South African Security Forces cease (e) Global economic sanctions be continued and expanded until the above conditions are met 114


At the South African Embassy, the twenty-five PNBC ministers and their supporters staged a demonstration reminiscent of the tactics of the civil rights protests of the 1960’s.  Carrying bibles and placards, and singings “We Shall Overcome”, they crossed the police line demanding to see the Ambassador.  Refusing to leave the Embassy after being asked to do so twice, a diplomat called the police, and the group was promptly arrested.  Each of the demonstrators was handcuffed, put in a police “paddy wagon”, and taken to jail, where they were detained for several hours, after which they posted bond.  As they were being arrested the ministers asked the police that they handcuffed “with their hands in front rather than behind so as to hold in their hands the bibles to read in jail.” 115 Arriving in court the next morning, they were given the option of returning the following morning for a court hearing or forfeiting their $50 bond.  All chose the latter option.  Indeed the PNBC was the only Baptist Convention that led a demonstration at the South African Embassy.


But Rev. Moss and his group of activist ministers requested the PNBC to go beyon lending its support to the ANC and to other antiapartheid groups.  They recommended that the church take a stronger role in the antiapartheid movement during its 1986 mid-winter session.  This recommendation was adopted by the Convention.


Consequently, the action of the national leadership of the PNBC led to increased grassroots mobilization by local pastors.  For example, it was as a result of the protests of local churches that led to the closure of the South African Consulate in Cleveland in the 1980’s.  One of the groups of activist ministers and their supporters who took over the Consulate was Rev. Mylian Waite.  She was arrested, taken to trial, and exonerated by an African American Judge. 116 Rev. Waite is presently Associate Pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio. The PNBC also manifested its support for the freedom struggle in South Africa in other ways. For example, Dr. J. Alfred Smith raised money for the antiapartheid movement.  He and other PNBC leaders sponsored trips to the U. S. by Desmond Tutu and Allan Boesak, which raised American consciousness to the evil of the apartheid system and leading to increased support for majority rule in South Africa.  117  Both Tutu and Boesak also preached at New Bethel Baptist, Fauntroy’s church.


But other than the arrests and the dangers posed by the protests, PNBC activists paid another               price for their involvement in the antiapartheid movement.  Some of them were  banned from entering South Africa until the collapse of white minority rule.  For example, Rev. Otis Moss and others were refused entry into South Africa to attend Tutu’s ordination as the first African Archbishop of Johannesburg on February 8, 1985. And  when Jesse Jackson and Otis Moss went to the South African Embassy to have ban lifted, the ambassador told Jackson that he would be allowed into the country under certain conditions: (1) That the visit be limited to only thirty-six hours (2) That there be no public statements, no media contacts, and no interviews. Jackson rejected Pretoria's preconditions.  118


Dr. Shepard, Jr., former President of the PNBC (1984 - 1986) came into the antiapartheid movement with a background of activism in the civil rights movement.  His father, Rev. Marshall Sr., was a founding member of the PNBC and a close friend of another founder, Daddy King, who had asked his son Martin Luther King Jr. to visit the Shepards during his Seminary days at Crozier, which is near Philadelphia, where the senior Shephard was Pastor of Mount Olivett Tabernacle Baptist Church. 


Rev. Shephard Sr. was also once an Assistant pastor to Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Sr., Pastor of Abyssinia Baptist Church in New York.  Through Powell, Shepard Sr. had secured a job as Recorder of Deeds during the FDR Administration, a federal patronage position first held by Frederick Douglas.  Shepard Sr. had also served under Powell Sr. with Rev. Leon Sullivan, the father of the “Sullivan Principles”, who also eventually pastored a church in the “City of Brother Love.”  The Shepards and the Kings were so close that it was Dr. Marshall L. Jr. who recommended Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker to Dr. King as the Executive Director of SCLC, when they rode together in a car to see King Sr. during a Convention in Philadelphia.” 119  Dr. Shepard’s antiapartheid contributions were impressive. He once boasted:  “All the bomb throwers are in the (PNB) Convention.”. 120 Rev. Shepard was in Zimbabwe in December 1985 when representatives of the churches from South Africa and across the globe issued the Harare Declaration calling interalia for majority rule in South Africa, represented the National Council of Churches (NCC) at the enthronement of Tutu as the first Black Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town (traveled with Coretta King and others), and was Co-Chairman of the Churches Emergency Committee on Southern Africa.  Rev. Shepard also worked closely with the CBC, especially during their annual meetings in September, in Washington D.C, for lobbied Congress, and marched with both Fauntroy and Robinson at the South African Embassy.  According to him, “While white churches supplied the money, black churches were in the forefront of the antiapartheid movement.”  121





Right from the merger of AMEC and the South African Ethiopian Church in the late19th century to Mandela’s election in the late 20th century, AMEC has maintained a constant presence in South Africa and a consistent commitment to the cause of liberation in Africa. And from 1896 - when Bishop Turner first linked segregation in America to white supremacy in South Africa  to the enactment of the CAAA in 1986, a century later - AMEC has often in the face of great difficulties been supportive of black struggle  in Africa and America.


AMEC opposition to colonialism and apartheid in South Africa was based on the “legacy of Turner” and repeatedly buttressed by the “unanimous position of AMEC Bishops that everything be done to end apartheid”. 122  Thus in various statements by the General Conference, the Supreme Body of the Church, the Council of Bishops and reports of the Social Action Committees, the church made crystal clear its position on African liberation.  At the 42nd Session of its general conference held in Kansas City, Missouri, on July 7 - 15, 1984, it declared that the church’s mission was based on the teachings of Jesus who “admonishes us in no uncertain terms to feed the hungry, give drink to those who are thirsty, welcome the weary, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and visit prisoners”.  The statement also outlined other challenges it saw as a part of AMEC’s mission. They include (1)Combating racism in all forms and enabling liberation for the poor and oppressed, especially blacks (2)Enhancing the desire for self-determination and self-development of African people and people of African descent through Christian concern and outreach (3) Promoting voter education, registration and participation, as well as greater representation in public policy and decision-making at all levels (4)Formulating programs which emphasize human development and economic development (5) Planning and implementing programs, which strengthen and enhance the black family. On South Africa per se, the Convention declared; “Our sisters and brothers in South Africa,unfortunately, may qualify for the dubious honor of being identified as the most oppressed people on the face of the earth. 123 Once men find jobs, they are separated from their families for one year.  Those who bring diamonds from the bowels of the earth, earn $12 per week.  Black men must work for one white man for ten (10) years before they are allowed to live in an urban area.”  As a result of these atrocities, the resolution recommended that “each Social Action Commission at the local level, the Annual Conference level, the Episcopal District level and at the Conventional level, petition our U.S. Congress persons to press the present and future administration to divest our holdings in South Africa until this abominable situation is redressed”. Further, it encouraged “all Black Americans to not purchase diamonds until equity and dignity are achieved in South Africa.  Further, we call on all blacks and call for African Methodism to boycott ALL companies with holdings in South Africa.  We now join in their struggle which is both difficult and dangerous….” 124


At its 43rd Quadrennial Session General Conference held in Fort Worth, Texas on July 6 - 14, 1988, 125  AMEC adopted by far its strongest and most powerful resolutions against South Africa’s apartheid regime.  It noted with immense concern (1) The continued existence of the most oppressive State of Emergency in South Africa (2) The continued callousness and practiced brutality of the South Africa Police and South Africa Defense Force, as it perpetrates atrocities against the Black people in South Africa  (3) That the evil of apartheid continues to maintain a shackling dominance over Black people, depriving them of their human dignity and their own being (4) The intensified struggle of our Black brothers and sisters in South Africa and to work for the absolute dismantling of the evil system.126 The General Conference also unanimously passed a resolution which stated (1) Following the resolution adopted at the 42nd Session of the General Conference support and reaffirm its position on mandatory and absolute sanctions as a peaceful means to a total dismantling of the system of apartheid (2) Deplores in the strongest terms, the practice of detention without trial especially detention of children, and appeal for the unconditional release of all political prisoners and call for the return of all South African refugees (3) Supports the efforts of the Liberation Movements such as SWAPO, ANC, PAC in Southern Africa to bring an end to the tragic situation now prevalent; and also be in support of the Lusaka Declaration of May 1987 (4) Pray for an end to the unjust rule by observing June 16 (Soweto Day) and March 21 (Sharpville Day) as Conventional Days of Prayer (5) Commit itself to continue to work for an immediate end to the apartheid system of South Africa by lobbying, writing letters to the United States Congress and to the South African State President N. W. Botha (6) Call for the General Conference as a matter of urgency to press for a stay of execution of Sharpeville six, 26 other patriots whose execution is scheduled for July 19, 1988, and other political persons being tried in court cases across the country.  127


Meeting at the 44th Session of the General Conference in Orlando, Florida on July 8            15,1992,  128  the church resolved to: (1) Condemn the deliberate attempt on the part of the white minority regime in South Africa through atrocities of the South African Security Forces to retard and) or derail the peace process in that country; (2) Condemn the failure of the South African regime to bring to justice those members of the Security Forces responsible for those atrocities; (3) Strongly support the insistence of Mr. Nelson Mandela and other respectful leaders for United Nations Mediation and problems encountered by the South African Nation; (4) Pledge the continued support of the African Methodist Episcopal Church through prayers and other means for our brothers and sisters in the Republic of South Africa, believing that God will, in due time, allow the South African Nation to rid itself from the ills of apartheid and make it possible for a just, undivided, non-racial, and democratic dispensation to be established (5) Charge the Women’s Missionary Society, in its Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status within the United Nations with the responsibility and mission for monitoring the sentiments expressed in this resolution (6) Call for the immediate introduction of an Interim Government and Constitutional Assembly.” 129


One of the most activist AMEC officials in the antiapartheid movement was Bishop John Hurst Adams, the present Senior Bishop of the Church. Founder and still Chairman Emeritus of the Congress of National Black Churches  (CNBC), first chairman of TransAfrica, and Board member of  both Africaire and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, he comes in the mould of another AMEC freedom fighter, Bishop Turner. In a certain sense, he is the archetype of the activist, antiapartheid African American clergyman: knowledgeable and non-violent, conscious and concerned, determined and motivated for the struggle for the dethronement of white minority rule and the enthronement of black majority rule in South Africa. 


According to the Bishop Adams, all African American churches were involved in the passage of the CAAA “because they participated in having it (Reagan’s veto) overturned” 130.  But there was, however, a variation in denominational involvement.  “Contacting people in Congress was fundamental,” said  Bishop Adams who also spoke to several Senators and members of the Congressional Black Caucus on the need to enact comprehensive sanctions against South Africa.  However, he did not see the need for the creation of an independent Black church lobby. For since African American churches could avail themselves of the services and expertise of three Black institutions: TransAfrica for foreign policy, Africare for relief and development in Africa, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies for the development of public policy statements,  there was, in his view, “no point duplicating things”. 131


Bishop Adams also identified six developments that impressed him the most during the antiapartheid struggle: (1) The strength and courage exhibited “by Mrs. Mandela, which kept Nelson’s profile alive” (2) The youths who were “foot-soldiers of the movement in South Africa” (3) The handful of white leaders who became friends of the movement and helped it along the way (4) The “strong manner of organizational development among the antiapartheid movement nationally and internationally.” (5) Personally, the opportunity to go to South Africa to take part in a conference and to participate in the sanctions movement in the U.S (6) The presence and charisma of Bishop Tutu, “an icon” of the movement and of Boesak both of whom “stood on the shoulders of numerous bishops, pastors, and their people, the nameless and unsung heroe’s who mobilized the people against apartheid”.  In the invaluable efforts of U. S., Robinson, Diggs, Dellums and others, and finally by the generosity of Nelson Mandela and the people of South Africa who for so long “endured the evil of apartheid, but on coming to power never called for retaliation”.132


Another top AMEC official, who “helped Clinton when he was running for the Governor of Arkansas”, supported the struggle in a variety of ways.  He was involved in the development of schools, hospitals, and churches in South Africa, sponsored scholarships for African students, was their resource person, and “helped them get over to the U.S.  He also “assisted the freedom groups, tried to help release Mandela, met a Secretary of State under Reagan”, but when he tried to see Chester Crocker, “he was not interested in what blacks were doing in South Africa.”133  Bishop Vinton R. Anderson, an AME Bishop from St. Louis, Missouri reiterated the Pan African spirit that has historically guided the activities of the church. According to him,  Forsyth County, Georgia, and apartheid in South Africa are examples of this.  As a black church we feel…we ought to be in the vanguard of advocating freedom for black people”.134






An analysis of the role of the CNBC on foreign policy issues requires a clear understanding of its structure and mission. Structurally, the organization has four component parts (1) The TheologicalEducation and Leadership Development/Affiliate Relations helps pastors and local churches todevelop “institutional capabilities” by adapting and rising for their purposes problem-solving national models developed by the CBNC (2) The Child and Family Development Program addresses family issues (3) The Community Economic Development Program, among other things assists first homebuyers in nine states to own their own homes in cooperation with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (4) The Health and Wholeness Program tackles the health disparity between African Americans and Whites, especially by encouraging the adoption of preventive measures. And whereas part of the mission of the CNBC is “to collaborate with ministries that promote justice…and affirm the moral and spiritual values of our faith in Jesus Christ, it is clear that Congress does little advocacy.  It takes no position on public policy issues and only gives its affiliates information on their implication.  According to an official of the organization, the CNBC cannot take a position “because we are non-profit”.135


The Committee on Church and Society handles public policy issues.  Made up of eight people, its chairman is Bishop John Adams.  But after the Board approves a policy, it “can only recommend it to members.  Denominations make decisions by themselves.” Thus, the CNBC is rarely involved in foreign policy immigration being the exception.  “As an agency, the denominations came together because of domestic needs”.  As one source put it, “CNBC believes its house is on fire and must tackle it first before foreign policy issues”.136  Moreover, the decentralized nature of the Congress, which gives its affiliates absolute autonomy on issues-domestic or foreign, requires that decisions be taken at the grassroots.  Unlike the white churches, in the black churches, ”pastors make most of the decision”.  In African American churches, “pastors are more powerful than bishops”.  And that is why “you don’t give up your pastorate when you take on leadership role in a denomination.  You hold on to it because it is the source of your power. You have to be strong in the local church to get a leadership position in a denomination.” 137

Thus in the CNBC, it is not the Congress per se but individual board members who deal with foreign policy issues.  For example, whenever the Chairman of the Committee on Church and State raised an issue of racial justice in the U.S. or South Africa, there was always a consensus on the board and recommendation that “he do something about it”.  Such sentiments were not normally expressed in public statements.  Rather it was recorded in the minutes only.  Thus on the issue of apartheid, it was not the CNBC as a body but Bishop Adams, the chairman of the Committee on Church and Society, that personally approached Black groups like TransAfrica, Africaire, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies to plot strategy.138




The passage of the CAAA was a major legislative victory for the US antiapartheid movement. However, it would never have been possible without the marriage of the "politics of creative tension and Black electoral power." And the key to an understanding of the impact of the application of  this “n-used” civil rights tactics to American foreign policy was the Senate elections of 1986, which took place barely one month after the congressional votes on the CAAA. It should be recalled that at that time the Democrats controlled the House while Republicans held the Senate by a margin of only five seats. Therefore, it was obvious to the antiapartheid activists from the beginning that if their two favorite legislative initiatives- the Martin Luther King and South African sanctions bills- were to have any chance of being passed by Congress, Demacrats had to take over the Senate. The main challenge faced by Fauntroy and his allies, therefore, was how to translate the "politics of creative tension” with all its dangers and high wire act into an electoral strategy that would bring victory in November.


But Congressman Fauntroy had three "heavy weapons" in his electoral arsenal. First as a Coordinator of the 1963 March on Washington, he had the names and addresses of about 100,000 out of the 250,000 people who came to the Mall. These contacts were augumented by thousands of new activist groups who came to Washington, DC in 1983 for the 20th anniversary of the March on Washington. Second as a former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Black Leadership Roundtable, Fauntroy had access to the cream of the African American political elite as well as to the leadership of over 150 national Black organizations. Third- and perhaps most importantly- as a prominent Black Baptist pastor in the nation's capital, he has strong connections to the politically and potentially potent African American churches. As a result of this, he was asked by the Congressional Black Caucus to assist in the mobilization of the AACs.


The Congressman's electoral stategy was simple. It included (1) the identification and organization of 115 select congressional districts in ten states- Al;abama, California, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Florida and Maryland- where blacks constitute more than 10% of the population and could influence who gets elected to Congress. 139  (2) the giving of "talking points" to potential voters (mostly from the AACs) who were asked to call their Senate candidates with the demand: " Vote for the Martin Luther King Holiday bill and sanctions against South Africa. If you can't vote for them, we can't vote for you in November." 140  Fauntroy also understood the political issues at stake. "If I get five of these (Republican Senators) removed, it is all over for Reagan in the Senate." 141

And indeed it was. Election results showed that African Americans- the AAC vote- was decisive in the election of Democratic Senators in Alabama, California, Georgia, Louisiana, and North  Carolina, and made a strong contribution to Democratic victories in Florida and Maryland. For example, in Alabama, the Republican candidate Denton had 61% of the white vote and the Democrat Shelby, had only 38% of that vote but still beat his opponent by 51% because he amassed 91% of the Black vote, which was only 20% of the electorate. In California, Republican Zschau had 56% of the white vote and 4% of the black vote, while Cranston, the Democratic candidate collected 44% of the same vote, but still won by only 51% because he had 96% of the black vote in a state where African Americans are only 9% of the electorate. In Georgia, the Republican Mattingly got 61% of the white vote and 15% of the black vote and lost, a while the democrat Fowler who received only 39% of the white vote won because had 85% of the black vote. 142 The black vote was also the margin of victory in  Louisians and North Carolina.


Fauntroy was euphoric: "The next day, I wrote every Democratic member of Congress. I said: Look, we're the key vote. We made the difference. What difference are you going to make? And they said: You've got everything you want- sanctions, everything...This was the type of organizing I was doing."143


But it would have been difficult for Fauntroy to reach his national Black constituency without the use of some of the "perks" that come with being a Congressman. One of them are "franking privileges," which allowed Congressmen and Senators to mail free of charge thousands of letters to citizens. Fauntroy used these "franks" in the task of mobilizing the AACs for the enactment of the CAAA. According to him, the AAcs are extremely attractive to politicians because (1) They are seen as the "conscience of America." (2) 24 million African Americans meet every week in 40,000 churches across America (3) Mobilized, AACs constitute a powerful voting bloc that can determine the outcome of ans election.  Indeed the Black church "has been at the core of every major public policy issue affecting Blacks for 40 years."


Finally, the Congressman sees his role as pastor and politician as one and the sanme. "it is a matter of personal salvation," he said. "When this warfare of life is over , and all of us have got to go- we can't stay here always- the lord is not going to ask us how many songs we sang in church, how often we went to church, whether we wore designer clothes whenwe went, whether we rode around in a Mercedes. But the question will ben when I was hungry,did you feed me? When I was thirsty did you give me somethimg to drink? When I was sick and imprisoned in South Africa did you come to see about me? And the Lord's answer to us will be, inasmuch as you did'nt join the Free South Africa Movement in 1985 when I was trying to declare good news to the 25 million poor exploited people you did not unto me," 144  Such a vibrant and christocentic ministry based on sound Black religious traditions was possible because the New Bethel Baptist Church of which Fauntroy is pastor, "supported my outreach to the world in the decade of the Eighties,"145 It was indeed this unique Black Christianity and spirituality as practced by "freedom's warriors" that won the war against two pseudo defenders of Western "christianity and civilization": Reagan and Botha.      






With the enactment of the CAAA on October 2, 1986, African Americans answered positively and decisively Martin Weil’s question.  “Can the Blacks do for Africa what the Jews did for Israel”, in spite of the obvious unfairness of the challenge given the different historical circumstances and experiences.  They had gone from cultural and symbolic Pan Africanism to an overly public and political Pan Africanism. The consummation of a marriage between civil rights activism, Black electoral politics , and Black foreign policy expertise, it has enormous potential in the realization of authentic PanAfricanism.   Playing a vanguard role, their struggle became-over the years - like “little drops” of opposition that became a current that swept apartheid into the dustbin of history. The Brzezinski National Security Memorandum, 146 which had sought to sabotage closer links between Africans and African Americans, proved to be a total failure.


This victory is gargantuan in two ways.  Psychologically, it marked the final and definitive defeat of apartheid, the only extant legal and political symbol of white supremacy and black inferiority. Indeed 1986 is historically comparable to 1804, when Toussaint L’Ouverture and Dessalines made Haiti the first and only successful slave revolution in history, and sent a message to the colonial and slave powers in Europe and the Americas that blacks were ready and willing to gain their freedom by “any means necessary”.  It is also comparable to 1865 when Blacks won their victory over slavery.


But what is equally significant is the genius of Black leadership in bringing to bear 1960’s civil rights tactics to the antiapartheid struggle  thereby turning “the course of the most powerful country on earth”. 147 Indeed by rational political calculations, the AACs and their allies faced enormous odds, especially in two critical areas: structure and resources.  Unlike the hierarchical, bureaucratically centralized, better-financed and staffed white churches, AACs are highly decentralized autonomous, understaffed and under financed.  Within the AACs no church or group of churches has the power or authority to impose its policy-will on another.  Thus, theoretically, unlike white churches, which have a “quicker response” approach to crisis, the AACs were expected to exhibit a “slower response” reaction to the antiapartheid challenge, given the need for consensus.  Moreover, unlike white churches, Black churches often have no archives and/or experienced staff to man them.  So it is not uncommon to find church documents scattered in the homes and offices of pastors and top ecclesiastical officials. One former top Black church official who was a leader of the antiapartheid movement observed that while apartheid was a high priority for the AACs, “people did things, but in an ad hoc and uncoordinated manner”.148 Another African American minister and scholar agreed that “Black churches multiply by dividing”.149


Yet, one should neither be deceived by these obvious systemic weaknesses nor misunderstand the dynamics of the AACs.  While lacking strong, formal and centralized bureaucracies, what must have surprised some political observers was the speed and evangelistic fervor with which the AACs were mobilized during the campaign for the enactment of the CAAA.  This was achieved by the use of informal networks, long term personal and professional relationships, and by organizational skills horned during the civil rights movement.  Indeed those who underestimated the AACs during the antiapartheid struggle, surely, never heard of the lgbo-African proverb: Elelia nwite, ya agbonyuo oku” (if you underestimate a little pot, it boils over and puts over the fire)


While the Black churches, unlike the WCC, which publicly announced a $300,000 Fund to Combat Racism in the 1970’s, had no fixed budgets for antiapartheid activities, they, nonetheless, made “anonymous financial contributions” to the struggle against Pretoria.  While the amount of money contributed and the number of churches involved may never be known, it is well known, for example, that (1) The AACs put both Tutu and Boesak on the “church circuit” to raise money for the struggle  149 (2) Several AMEC Bishops and other AAC members raised money for schools, churches, and hospitals in South Africa and “for the struggle” (3) One AMEC bishop raised $500,000 in four years for missionary work in South Africa and “for the struggle”. 150 (4) Dr. Marshall L. Shepard, Jr. and American Friends Committee raised money for the ANC representative in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 151


Nonetheless, the overall behavior of the AACs varied throughout the antiapartheid struggle.  AMEC’s approach was not unlike that of the Catholic Church in two important ways.  First, Convention resolutions against apartheid were often strong and greatly influenced by the input and recommendations of ‘sister’ churches in South Africa.  And it is doubtful that a Convention would issue an antiapartheid statement that had the potential of inflicting more harm to its more than 180,000 members in South Africa, who like millions of other Black people, had borne the brunt of white minority rule, without a “signal” or “approval” of AMEC congregations in the country.  Second - and like the Catholic Church - AMEC was more likely to engage in contacts with top U.S. politicians and government officials rather than participate in demonstrations, marches, sit-ins etc. In fact a striking characteristic of the church is its access to powerful members of the American political establishment and the “evangelistic” zeal with which it pursues this mission. One AMEC scholar has warned about the dangers posed by the subordination of spirituality to politics.152


AMEC may also have been caught in the tension between the “logic of mission and maintenance” - “two logics“ operative in every organization.  The logic” of mission nudges a church to not only “talk the talk of faith” but also to “walk the walk of faith”. For AMEC that embraces a historical legacy of fighting racism and segregation and promoting justice, liberty and freedom.  The logic of maintenance demands that a “church protect its international unity, protect its internal cohesion…. protect the authority of the ecclesiastical government…protect its economic base, and this often prompts Popes and bishops to maintain their solidarity with the powerful and the affluent of society, again putting them at odds with the preferential option for the poor.”153  With several institutions and the largest congregation of any of the AACs in South Africa, AMEC must have been in a dilemma as to the most prudent manner to confront the apartheid system.  As one South Africa expert put it: “AMEC was in an awkward position.  They were trying to send missionaries to South Africa and the South African Government said they must keep quiet.  Thus from the 1950’s until more recently, the AME was forbidden to send bishops to South Africa”. 154  He said that he is in possession of a document to prove this assertion. 155 Another AMEC Bishop, who seems to confirm the ban, however, added: “But Bishop Fred James got into South Africa in 1972 and was engaged in building churches and other institutions.” 156


Finally, it is hoped that the victory over white minority rule in South Africa will lead not to a relaxation in relations between Black Africans and African Americans but to increased cooperation in two vital areas.  The first is in the area of geopolitics.  After the fall of apartheid the most critical problem facing Black Africa is the need for political stability without which economic and technological development are impossible.  For ever since their independence from European colonialism, most Black African countries are yet to obtain the truly “political kingdom” - a stable polity hospitable to democracy, meritocracy, prosperity, and inhospitable to corruption, religious fanaticism and the inevitable violence it promotes.  What exists in most of the multi-national states in Africa today are ethnic group leaders using ethnic armies to perpetuate ethnic hegemony.  It is indeed internal colonialism.  Thus there is an urgent need for a reconfiguration of Africa’s colonially - imposed borders, by paying attention to linguistic similarity, geographical contiguity, ethnic solidarity, and religious affinity.  To stubbornly force people to live in a country that is intolerant of diversity, and the rule of law is a recipe for violence and instability. Moreover the European model of nation-state, which was imposed on Black Africa will never lead to "national" integration as was the case in Europe under totally different historical circumstances. The type of religious, cultural, linguistic, and political hegemony that created many European states will never succeed in Africa. For religion and ethnicity are still the most powerful forces on the continent. And they have even grown stronger with the fall of communism and the "revenge of religion and nationalism." Religion and ethnicity in Africa should, therefore, be harnessed rather than demonized. Indeed only an immediate legalization and positive utilization of the power and resilience of the African “ethnic-nation” within a decentralized confederal democratic system can bring and sustain long term stability, peace and prosperity in Africa’s large multi-national states.  The resolution of Africa’s nationalities problem must precede an authentic and functional African Union.


The second is the need for the cooperative exploitation of Africa’s mineral resources by her children in Africa and the Diaspora.  These resources, the richest in the world, now include increasing oil reserves.  For example, according to the Washington Post, Angola, a country of only 12 million people, has oil deposits rivaling those of Saudi Arabia.157  Unfortunately, Africa’s huge natural resources are presently being exploited and appropriated by a greedy alliance of corrupt African rulers and corrupt multinational corporations, who are really the progenitors and perpetuators of the continent’s poverty, despite its incredible wealth.  A combination of Black American technological expertise and Black African mineral overabundance will, surely facilitate the reduction of poverty levels in Black America and Black Africa and radically transform global economics and politics.  This is really what the Brzezinski memo feared the most. 


But this cooperation will be impossible unless two actions are taken:       African Americans should see as a matter of urgency the need to develop a more creative and cooperative relationship with African residents in the U.S by (1) Initiating  serious recruitment drives of African residents in the US  into Black American organization like the NAACP, Urban League, the fraternities and sororities etc and (a ) Using thousands of African ethnic organizations in the U.S. to establish separate African chapters of these organizations (b) Encouraging Africans and African Americans to join the newly - created chapters or the older Black ones. (White groups- the Knights of Columbus, the Rotary Club etc. are already doing this) (c) Demanding membership and joining an African ethnic organization an African American considers as belonging to the land of his ancestors (2) To de-emphasize relations between top Black American leaders and African leaders and promote contacts based on the grassroots and ethno-national groups.   Strong relations with Africans in the U.S. will facilitate and strengthen bonds with Africa.  And if necessary a “DNA- based roots search" can now be used to identify the African national group to which an African American belongs. A Black physician, Dr. Bruce Jackson, runs the DNA Roots Project at Boston University Hospital, and has already helped an African American woman, the writer Duncan Pearl, to trace her roots to a national group in Ghana. 158 With a "DNA-based PanAfricanism” now possible, African Americans ought to go beyond the search for reparations from Europeans and demand from Black African countries the right of return.


Indeed a new, vibrant and pragmatic PanAfricanism is needed in the new millennium and in the era of globalization.  In his book Tribes, How Race, Religion, and Identify Determine Success in the New Global Economy, Joel Kotkin makes a strikng revelation:  Only globally dispersed ethnic groups who are able to maintain worldwide business and cultural contact like the English, Japanese, Chinese, and Indians, he writes,  will “increasingly shape the economic destiny of mankind”. 159  In the wake of the historic electoral “power punch” that pummeled apartheid into oblivion, the time is ripe for the genesis of a new movement built on Black experiences of the past, the victories of the recent past, and the challenges of the present to lay the cultural, technological, political, and economic foundation for a new and prosperous future. Indeed as authentic children of Africa, African Americans who "were uprooted and displaced in an alien culture... and desperate to hold on to their humanity by nurturing a vision and experience of the land of their forefathers," 160 can facilitate the realization of Garvey's dream of a Union of all Black people of African ancestry not unlike those of the Arabs and the Europeans. This is the Black challenge of the 21st century. The stakes are high and the obstacles numerous. Indeed the same anti-African forces that hindered Black missionaries in Africa in the 19th century are still alive and well in the 20th. An African American student who needed funds to live and do research in Africa was bluntly warned that “black Americans do not adjust well to Africa.” 161 A young white Harvard Law School counselor advised him: “If you’re going to Africa, you’d better be married or you’ll find yourself very lonely.” 162 Such attitudes are still common within the majority culture.


Yet, in the wake of apartheid’s demise, the realization of authentic PanAfricanism is inevitable. Like the rain, no one can stop it. Victor Hugo was right: “One can resist an invasion of armies, but not an idea whose time has come”. What one former top church official said about the antiapartheid movement is applicable to the realization of Black African unity: “If you want change, you must organize on the grassroots.  Change is possible if you are organized and have a righteous cause”.  163 Such was the antiapartheid movement in the U.S and freedom's warriors who changed history.




1. "Interview with Bishop Adam J. Richardson," February 6, 2002. Bishop Richardson is AMEC bishop of Johannesburg, Kwazulu-Natal, and Durban up to the Botswana border. He said that AMEC was involved in the grassroots in South Africa from 1896 and gave moral and material support to the antiapartheid movement. But he was surprised by a statement made in January 2002 in Johannesburg by some black South African attorneys during an award ceremony organized by the ANC Women's wing: They said that the Church was not actively involved in the antiapartheid struggle.


2. Interview with Dr. Wardell Page, February 7, 2002


3. Interview with Willis Logan, February 19, 2002


4. Martin Weil, "Can the Blacks Do for Africa What the Jews Did for Israel?" Foreign Policy, Summer 1974, pp. 103-130


5. Henry F. Jackson, From the Congo to Soweto, New York: Quill, 1984, p.121


6. August Meier and Elliot Rudwick, From Plantation to the Ghetto, New York: Hill and Wang, 1988, p.41


7. Roland Oliver and John Page, “Short History of Africa,” in Sulvia Jacobs (ed), Black Americans and the Missionary Movement in Africa,” Westport, Connecticut, 1982, p.9


8. Joseph Harris (ed),  Global Dimensions of the African Diaspora, Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1993, p.6


9. ibid.


10. Jan Carew, Ghosts in Our Blood, Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 1994, p.57


11. J. Herskovits cited in Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower, New York: Penguin Books, 1986, p.26


12. Albert J. Raboteau, "African Religions in America: Theoretical Perspectives," in Harris, op.cit. p.67


13. Bennett, op.cit.p.26


14. ibid.


15. E. Franklin Frazier, Negro Family in the United States, in Harris, op.cit. p.6


16. ibid.


17. Sidney W. Mintz and Richard Price, The Birth of African American Culture, Boston: Beacon Press, 1976, p.9


18. Harris, op.cit. p.69


19. Bennett, op.cit. p.55


20. Bennett, op.cit. p.82


21. ibid


22. Robert N. Bellah and Carl H. Brill, "Religious Influence on United States Foreign Policy," in Michael P. Hamilton, (ed), American Character and Foreign Policy, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Williams B. Eardmans Publishing Co., 1986, p.55


23. ibid.


24. ibid.


25. David J. Garrow, Bearing the Cross, New York: William Morrow and Co. Inc., 1986, p.42


26. ibid.


27. ibid.


28. Columba A. Nnorom, American Churches and Southern Africa, Rhetoric and Reality, Lanham: University Press of America, Inc., 1997, p.6


29. Clarence Glendenen, Robert Collins and Peter Duignan, American in Africa, 1865-1900, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1964, p.114


30. ibid.


31. Randall Robinson, Defending the Spirit, A Black Life in America, New York: Plume Book, p.129


32. ibid


33. Gayraud S. Wilmore, Black Religion and Black Radicalism, New York: Orbis Press, p.153


34. James Campbell, Songs of Zion: The African Methodist Episcopal Church in the US and South Africa, Durham: University of North Carolina Press, 1998, p.139


35. Carol A. Page, "Colonial Reaction to AME Missionaries in Africa: 188-110," in Sylvia M. Jacobs (ed),  Black Americans and the Missionary Movement in Africa, Westport, Connecticut, 1982, p.9


36. Tony Martin, "Some Reflections on Evangelical PanAfricanism' in Jacobs, op.cit. p.191


37.  Wilmore, p.154


38. Jacobs, op.cit. p.180


39. "Opportunities for the Negro in South Africa and America Compared," AME Church Review, 21, 2(1904), pp.145-146


40..Harris, op.cit. p.149


41. Walton Johnson, "The Afro-American Presence in Central and Southern Africa: 1880-1905, Journal of Southern African Studies, 4, 1(1979):28-42


42. Richard D.Ralston, "American Episodes in the Making of an African Leader: A Case Study of Alfred B. Xuma (1893-1962)," International Journal of African Historical Studies, 6, 1(1973): 72-93


43. Jacobs, op.cit. p.183


44. ibid.


45. Nnorom, op.cit. p.9


46. Frederick B. Bridgman, "The Ethiopian Movement in South Africa," The Missionary Review of the World, Vol. 27, June 1984, p.441


47. Harris, op.cit. p.390


48. Rothberg, Rebellion in Africa in Jackson, op.cit. p135


49. Jackson, op.cit. p.144


50. ibid. 143


51. ibid. p.145


52. Lewis V. Baldwin, Toward the Beloved Community, Martin Luther King and South Africa, Cleveland, Ohio: The Pilgrim Press, 1995, p.33


53. Albert J. Luthuli, Let My people Go, New York, 1962, p.83


54. Baldwin, op.cit. p.33


55. ibid.


56. Jackson, op.cit. p.146


57 ibid. p.148


58. Tyle Tatum, (ed), South Africa, Challenge and Hope, Toronto: Collins Publishers, 1987, p.64


59. ibid. pp.64-65


60. Jackson, op.cit. p.148


61. ibid. p.134


62. ibid. p.149


63. Robinson, op.cit. pp.96-97


64 Harold Karan jacobson and William Zimmerman, "Approaches to the Analysis of Foreign Policy," The Shaping of Foreign policy, New York: Atherton Press, 1969, p.7


65. Robert A. Dahl, Congress and foreign policy, new York; harcourt Brace and Co., 1950, p.201


66. Gabriel A. Almond, The American People and Foreign Policy, New York: Frederick A. Praeger Publishers, 1960, p.50


67. Bernard C. Cohen, The Influence of Non-governmental Groups on Foreign Policymaking, Boston: World Peace Foundation, 1959, p.1



68. Lester W. Milbrath, "Interest Groups and Foreign Policy," in Rosenau (ed), Domestic Sources of Foreign Policy, New York: The Free Press, 1966, p.231


69. F. Chiedozie Ogene, Interest Groups and the Shaping of Foreign Policy, New York: St. Martins Press, 1983, p.1


70. Harold J. Laski, The American Democracy, New York: The Viking Press, 1948, p.313


71. Albert B. Cleage, Jr., The Black  Messiah, New York: Sheed and Ward, 1968, p.36


72. Almond, op.cit. p.50


73. James H. Cone, "Black Theology and the Black Church: Where Do We Go From Here?" Cross Currents, Summer 1977, p.149


74. ibid.  


75. Roby F. Johnston, The religion of Negro Protestants, New York: Philosophical Library, 1956, p.212


76. W.E.B. Dubois, Crisis, January 1994


77. Record, Race, p.60 in Wilmore, op.cit. p.201


78. ibid.


79. LS. Gann and Peter Duignan, Why South Africa Will Survive, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1981


80. Elliot P. Skinner, "The Dangers of American Support of Apartheid," TransAfrica Forum, Fall 1985, Vol. 3, No. 1, p.34


81. Transcript of Televised Interview, "A Conversation with the President," CBS Special News Report with Walter Cronkite, March 3, 181, p.3


82. Robinson, op.cit. p.137


83. Sojourners, op.cit. p.10


84. ibid


85. Interview with Dr. Marshall Lorenzo Sheppard, Jr., March 13, 2002


86. ibid.


87. Anniversary Bulletin of the New Bethel Baptist Church: Celebrating Our Pastor’s 40 Yearss of Serving God’s People,” January 31, 1999- February 7, 1999, p.10


88. Robinson, op.cit. p.69


89.  ibid.


90. Sojourner's, op.cit. pp.14-15


91. Robinson, op.cit p.127


92. Sojourner's, op.cit. p.15


93. Robinson, op.cit. p.148


94. ibid. p.149


95. Sojorner's, op.cit. p.15


96. ibid.


97. Robinson, op.cit. p.154


98. ibid. p.155


99. ibid.


100.  ibid. p.156


101.  Interview with Professor Cain Hope Felder, March 12, 2002


102. ibid.


103.  Robinson, op.cit. p.157


104. Interview with Rev. Otis Moss, March 18, 2002


105.  Congressional Quarterly Almanac, Vol. LXL11, 1986, p.359


106. The other two are: 1973 (Nixon War Powers Act) and Ford –Arms sales to Turkey) Cf relevant CQA)


107. Wardell J. Payne, (ed), Directory of African American Churches, Washington, DC: Howard University Press, 1995, p.110


108. “An Introduction to the Progressive National  Baptist Convention, Inc”., p.1


109. Payne, op. cit. p.217


110. PNBC Resolutions of the 23rd Annual Convention, 1984


111. PNBC Resolutions of the 23rd Annual Convention, 1985


112. Interview with Dr. Shepard, op. cit.


113. Interview with Moss, op. cit.


114. ibid


115. ibid.


116. ibid.


117. ibid.


118. ibid.


119. Interview with Dr. Shepard, op. cit.


120. ibid.


121. ibid.


122. Interview with Bishop John Hurst Adams, February 21, 2002


123. Resolution to the 42nd General Conference, July 7-15, 1984


124. ibid.


125. Resolution to the 43rd General Conference, July 6-14, 1988


126. ibid.


127. ibid.


128. Resolution to the 44th General Conference, July 8-15, 1992


129. ibid.


130. Interview with Bishop Adams, op. cit.


131. ibid.


132. ibid.


133. Interview with Bishop Hamel Hartfford Brookins, April 3, 2002


134. DeNeen Brown, “AME Church Celebrates Roots of Struggle for Dignity,” The Washington Post,                March 14, p.G14


135. Interview with Dr. Payne, op. cit.


136. ibid.


137. ibid.


138. Interview with Bishop Adams, op. cit.


139. “Campaign Worker’s Assistance Program Sheet: National Black Roundtable Targeted US Senate Races, November 4, 1986


140. Interview with Walter Fauntroy, March 14, 2002


141. ibid.


142. “Fact Sheet: Senate Campaign Worker’s Assistance Project, 1986,”


143. Interview with Fauntroy, op. cit.


144. Sojourners, February 1985, p.17


145. “Special Bulletin of New Bethel Baptist Church: Celebrating Our Pastors 40 Years of Serving God’s People,” January 31-February 7, 1999 


146 “Brzezinski’s National Security Memorandum”


147. Robinson, op.cit. p.161 


148. Interview with Logan, op. cit.


149. Interview with Payne, op. cit.


150. Interview with  Shepard, op. cit.


151. Interview with Brookins, op. cit.


152. Louis-Charles Harvey, “The African Methodist Episcopal Church: The Tension Between Its In terior Life and Exterior Life,” AME Working Papers11, p.1-19


153. Gregory Baum, “The Catholic Church’s Contradictory Stances,” in William K. Tabb (ed), Changes in Struggle, New York: monthly Review Press, 1986, p.131


154. Interview with Dr. Robert Edgar, March 12, 2002


155. Interview with Dr. Robert Edgar, March 3, 2002


156. Interview with Brookins, op. cit.


157. Karen Deyoung, “Angolan Leader Outlines Steps Toward Ending the War,” The Washington Post, February 28, 2002


158. CBS Evening News, April 19, 2002


159. Joel Kotkin, Tribe, How Race, Religion, and Identity Determine Success in the New Global Economy, New York: Random House, 1993, p.4


160. Ronald W. Walters, “American and African American: The Policy Linkage,” cited in Jackson, op. cit. 123


161.Robinson, op.cit. p. p.63


162. ibid.


163. Interview with Logan, op. cit.

A Section of the “Public Influences of African American Churches” (PIAAC) Project organized by Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia. Published by Duke University Press, 2003