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Divestiture, To 1983

 File — Box: 3, Folder: 4
Identifier: Folder 4

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

The Defense Committee

The Dennis Brutus Defense Committee was formed in response to efforts by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service to deport South African poet and anti-apartheid activist Dennis Brutus. Brutus, who was expelled from South Africa in 1966, came to the United States in 1970 on a British visa from Rhodesia, his country of birth. When in 1980 British Rhodesia became independent Zimbabwe, Brutus. passport was revoked. Brutus delayed in applying for an extension of his visa, and the temporary loss of his papers by an immigration office rendered him technically an illegal alien.

The United States government began deportation proceedings against Brutus in February of 1981. He was granted political asylum in the United States in September of 1983, after a two-year court battle with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service.

The Dennis Brutus Defense Committee, among whose prominent members and supporters were Northwestern University Professor Jan Carew and then-Congressman Harold Washington, solicited funds for Brutus. defense and coordinated Letter-writing and petition campaigns which gathered over 30, 000 names. He received support from numerous Legislators and religious, political and academic leaders.

The Papers:

The Series comprises for the most part press clippings and photocopies of press clippings, dating from 1963 through 1983 but chiefly from the years 1982 and 1983, concerning the political crisis in South Africa and the career of Dennis Brutus as anti-apartheid activist. The material on Brutus himself concerns chiefly the threat of deportation by the United States which he successfully confronted in 1983. There are in the series in addition three folders of photocopies of Letters of support from prominent figures in academics and in government. One and one-half boxes contain petitions to the Department of Immigration Services urging that Brutus be granted asylum. Petition campaigns were mounted in Seattle, Massachusetts, Illinois, and overseas during the autumn of 1981.

The original order of the Records was retained. The clippings and photocopies are classified according to topic; folder titles used by the Defense Committee were retained.

The Dennis Brutus Papers (Africana Manuscripts 17) contain considerable material on Brutus' life and career.


  • To 1983


Conditions Governing Access

These records cannot be consulted without the written permission of Dennis Brutus. To inquire about access to this collection, please contact the Herskovits Library at


From the Collection: 4.00 Boxes

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies Repository

Northwestern University Libraries
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US