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Fri, 07.01.1977

TransAfrica is Formed

*On this date in 1977, TransAfrica was formed.  This advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., seeks to influence the United States' foreign policy concerning African and Caribbean countries and all African diaspora groups.  

TransAfrica Forum was founded on July 1, 1977, after being conceived a year earlier at a Black Leadership Conference convened by the Congressional Black Caucus in September 1976. A committee consisting of Randall RobinsonHerschelle Challenor, and Willard Johnson is credited for formulating an organizational design and launch. Robinson became the organization's first Director. It began to launch legislative campaigns, strategic media outreach, and activism that increased public awareness of apartheid in South Africa and contributed to the global anti-apartheid solidarity movement.   

On November 21, 1984, Robinson, Walter Fauntroy, and Mary Frances Berry were arrested at a sit-in at the office of the South African Ambassador in Washington, D.C. as part of their anti-Apartheid movement.   TransAfrica worked closely with the Congressional Black Caucus to pass the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986.   It is credited for its role in the anti-apartheid struggle through its activism.  Through the Free South Africa Movement, they initiated a letter-writing campaign, hunger strikes, and protest marches to protest against apartheid and to compel the U.S. government to act against apartheid.  TransAfrica is run by a Board of Directors, administered by staff, and supported by members.  

They are a research, education, and advocacy center for activism focusing on social, economic, and political conditions in Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and other parts of the African Diaspora. They are the largest and oldest social justice organization in the United States, focusing on Africa.  The 2018 chairman of the board is Danny Glover. Past board members have included activists Arthur Ashe, Chuck D, and Harry Belafonte.  The former Director is Nicole Lee.  Past Directors have included Bill Fletcher Jr.  

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