In 1986, anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu announced that Ronald Reagan would be “judged harshly by history” for vetoing economic sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa. Despite significant pressure from American citizens to act strongly against the racist regime, Reagan’s administration insisted on a policy of “constructive engagement.”
During this American struggle over apartheid, the largest national upsurge of campus civil disobedience occurred since the 1960s. This explosion of activism in support of southern African liberation movements enabled Congress to override Reagan’s veto and impose sanctions with the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act.
As part of the Presidential Forum lecture series, the SMU Center for Presidential History presents “Ronald Reagan and the Struggle Over Apartheid.” Co-sponsored by the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute’s Seminar “Global Africa: Between Intervention and Engagement,” the event will feature a discussion between two distinguished guests:
Rozell W. “Prexy” Nesbitt is an educator and speaker on Africa, foreign policy and racism, and an activist in the anti-apartheid movement in the United States.
Piero Gleijeses is a professor at Johns Hopkins University, and one of the leading scholars of the global Cold War and the struggle over apartheid.
The event will take place Wednesday, Sept. 17 from 5-7 p.m. in the McCord Auditorium.