SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Crossing the Black Atlantic: The Global Anti-Apartheid Movement and the Racial Politics of the Cold War

Nicholas Grant, University of East Anglia

Date: 26 February 2014Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 26 February 2014Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: Faber Building Room: FG01

Type of Event: Seminar

This paper will examine the travels of the American based performers Canada Lee and Sidney Poitier to South Africa, alongside the experiences of the ANC activists Z.K. and Frieda Matthews in the United States. As foreign black actors starring in the film version of Cry, the Beloved Country (1952), Lee and Poitier found themselves caught up in a project that the National Party believed could be used to present the apartheid regime in a positive light. In New York City at the height of the Defiance Campaign, the Matthews were also exposed to the power of the state as both the US and South African governments attempted to prevent them from publicly criticizing apartheid. Engaging with recent scholarship on the racial politics of the Cold War in the US and Southern Africa, the paper will demonstrate how prominent black individuals had to overcome major obstacles in order to make themselves heard on the global stage.

Organiser: Dr Marie Rodet

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