• The National Party wins the election in South Africa on the platform of apartheid.


  • The Soweto Uprising: black African students protest en masse against a law that forced school instruction in Afrikaans, the language of the white-minority government.


  • Sullivan Principles established in order to apply economic pressure on South Africa.


  • Reagan Administration officially adopts constructive engagement as its foreign policy with South Africa.


  • Community Activist, Marvin Crenshaw, begins making weekly visits to the Dallas City Council in order to argue that the City Council should take measures against apartheid. His weekly visits continue for the next 4 years.


  • South African Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his anti-apartheid work.
  • September: Dallas Council members Diane Ragsdale and Al Lipscomb propose that the council divest city pension plan investments that did business in South Africa. Their proposal fails 8 to 3. This is Ragsdale and Lipscomb’s first attempt at proposing divestment.
  • November: anti-apartheid demonstrations begin outside the South African Embassy in Washington.


  • May 29: Dallas Mayor, Austin Starke Taylor, delays the introduction of another Ragsdale and Lipscomb Council resolution proposing divestment. Taylor suggests that Ragsdale and Lipscomb create a resolution without sanctions.
  • June 11: The Dallas city pension board meets and votes unanimously to oppose any measure telling them how to invest city pension funds.
  • June 12: Ragsdale softens her September 1984 proposal. Instead of asking that current funds be divested from companies involved with South Africa, Ragsdale proposes that the City Council pass a resolution prohibiting the city pension board from future investments of companies involved in South Africa. She wins 6-5.
  • June 13: The Dallas Morning News calls Diane Ragsdale’s  City Council victory from the day before”strange and perhaps hollow.”
  • June 23: African National Congress member, Ben Mokoena, speaks at an anti-apartheid rally in Griggs Park near downtown Dallas. Mokoena had come to the U.S. in order to convince city governments and educational institutions to divest their funds from companies involved with South Africa.
  • September 11: The Dallas Independent School District board decides to postpone a vote on a resolution condemning apartheid. It does not appear to ever be revisited.
  • October 31: The SMU Board of Trustees receives a resolution from the SMU Student Senate requesting that the Board consider divesting University funds from South Africa.
  • November 2: The Dallas Morning News publishes an article explaining that the United States has an increased fervor regarding anti-apartheid. The article is entitled “Apartheid Issue Reborn.”


  • The Anti-Apartheid Act passes.  Constructive engagement is abandoned as U.S. foreign policy.
  • August 19: Several citizens approach the Fort Worth City Council about taking action on the apartheid issue. William Chatman proposes divestiture for the city employee retirement fund; Pam Dunlop (Black Women Lawyers of Tarrant County) asks for a resolution on sanctions against South Africa; Anthony Lyons, Charles Brown, and Ricky Brodus request a “Task Force Committee” to consider sanctions.
  • September 26: Council members Diane Ragsdale and Al Lipscomb join community activists Roy Williams and Marvin Crenshaw for a peaceful protest at Fair Park. The Dallas Morning News refers to the protest as a “peaceful lunch time demonstration.”


  • “Rangel Amendment” instituted, removing foreign tax credit from companies doing business in South Africa. Following this Amendment many companies left South Africa, proving to be one of the more effective anti-apartheid sanctions.
  • January 21: The Dallas Harvard Club meets at the Adolphus Hotel. Two mayoral candidates, Jim Collins and Fred Meyer, address the organization. When Harvard grad and attorney, Eric Moye, asks about apartheid, both mayoral candidates claim that South Africa is a foreign policy issue best handled by the Federal government.
  • The Dallas City Council passes an ordinance requiring potential city contractors to disclose any relationships with South Africa.
  • April 14: City of Fort Worth passes Resolution 1152a which 1) summarily condemns the apartheid system in South Africa and Namibia and 2) commends the city’s Board of Trustees of the Employees’ Retirement Fund for divesting from South Africa.
  • June 30: City of Fort Worth passes Resolution 9899 mandating a new purchasing policy, which required potential bidders to disclose the extent of their business dealings in South Africa or Namibia.


  • February 8: Dally City Councilwoman Diane Ragsdale convinces the City Council to pass a resolution prohibiting the city from creating contracts with organizations that had conducted business with South Africa within the last year. This strengthened the 1985 ordinance which stated that the city would not make future investments in companies involved in South Africa.


  • October: SMU’s Advocates for Peace in Global Affairs protests SMU’s continued investment in South Africa by constructing makeshift ‘shanty’ housing on Dallas Hall Lawn.


  • Apartheid ends in South Africa.


  • April 27: South Africa held their first democratic elections.
  • May 9: Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa.


  • December 4: The Constitutional Court approved the new Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.