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Boycott South Africa

Boycott South Africa Cause Button Museum
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Boycott South Africa button back Cause Button Museum
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The top half of the button is yellow with orange text and the bottom half is orange with yellow text.

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Donelly / Colt Buttons Box 183 Hampton CT (illegible)

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Apartheid was a system of complete racial segregation in South Africa from 1948-1994, which allowed the white minority to maintain control. Black South Africans were forced to carry special documents to enter restricted areas and, in 1970, they lost the right to vote. Some American businesses began to cut off trade with and investment in South African businesses in the mid 1970s. In the 1980s images of the struggles to end Apartheid in South Africa influenced many Americans to protest and demand economic boycotts of South Africa. There were protests on College campuses in the United States to divest from South Africa and in 1986 a bill came before Congress for the same purpose. Reagan vetoed the bill, but the Senate overrode his veto.

In 1985, while concerned Americans were trying to organize a boycott of South Africa, President Reagan instituted an embargo of U.S. trade with Nicaragua to hurt Nicaragua's leftist government and help the Contra rebels. This button expressed opposition to Apartheid and support for Nicaragua.

Clergy and Laity Concerned was a group formed in 1965 by the National Council of Churches to oppose the Vietnam War. They supported the Nuclear freeze and popular movements in Latin America. They also opposed Apartheid and were active in the divestment campaign to boycott South Africa. As part of this campaign, they put out this button in 1986.


Apartheid. (2010). A+E Networks.

Badge 'boycott South Africa: not Nicaragua.' Tracing the Unbreakable Thread: Non Racialism in South Africa.  South African History Archive.

Clergy and Laity Concerned. African Activist Archive. Michigan State University.

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