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America’s Voices Against Apartheid Exhibition

September 14 - November 5, 2023

The National African American Drug Policy Coalition, in collaboration with the Howard University Republic of South Africa (HURSAP), the Apartheid Museum, and the Sister States of Maryland are pleased to present the “America’s Voices Against Apartheid” exhibition at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The exhibition tells the story of the contributions of the American people to the global fight against apartheid in South Africa – from the development of those ties in the late 1800s to Nelson Mandela’s historic election as the first democratically elected President of South Africa in 1994.

The exhibition profiles well-known celebrity activists and the common American citizen and organizations who dared to question and challenge not only the South African apartheid regime, but more importantly, their own government’s complicit “constructive engagement” with the discriminatory South African government.

These voices came from every corner of the American landscape: white, Black, young, old, rich, poor, Democratic, Republican, East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, New England, South, Northwest Pacific. And they took their fight to the streets, college campuses, banks, board rooms, corporate headquarters, city and state legislatures, the South African Embassy and consulates around the U.S., the United Nations and to Washington, D.C., the seat of the U.S. government itself.

They resoundingly said “NO” to apartheid and to their own government’s anti- democratic policies. They said “NO” to oppression...“NO” to murdering and jailing South African freedom fighters... and “NO” to the use of force by the South African military and police state. For decades, they challenged the South Africa government to create a new, free and democratic South Africa, while strengthening our own democracy at home.

The exhibition also shines a light on the early American social justice pioneers from the late 1800s and early 1900s who understood that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and laid the foundation for the anti-apartheid activism of the 1980s and 90s. It will also link global anti-apartheid activism to contemporary social justice movements in the U.S., South Africa and across the African Diaspora by exploring the lessons, tactics and strategies from the past that can inform, inspire and unite today’s 21st century activists.

In the months of October and November, visitors can further emerge into the experience with three performances at the Kennedy Center:

About America’s Voices Against Apartheid (AVAA): AVAA analyzes American citizens' and organizations' important and complex involvement in the global anti- apartheid movement. The project profiles American people, major activist organizations, and not-so-ordinary grassroots activists who questioned and challenged the American government’s foreign political and economic policy toward South African apartheid. AVAA aims to tell the story of the indomitable spirit, energy, and expansive confederation of the movement and contributions of Americans. A grant from the U.S. Mission to South Africa funds the project.

AVAA Curatorial Team: Jean Bailey, Ph.D., Alicia Adams, Khephra Burns, Camille Dantzler, Ph.D., Tara Hammons, Veronica Jackson, Charles Johnson, Ph.D., Emilia Potenza, Sonja Woods, M.A.

Exhibit Design: The PRD Group LLC

AVAA Partners: Howard University Republic of South Africa Project, Apartheid Museum Johannesburg, U.S. Embassy Pretoria, Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in Washington, D.C., National African American Drug Policy Coalition, Sister States of Maryland, Inc.


For more information, visit

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