Skip to main content

Dennis Brutus Defense Committee, Records of the

 Collection
Identifier: 026

  • Staff Only
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 passport was revoked.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.

Dates

  • 1963-1983
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1982-1983

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The Records cannot be consulted without the written permission of Dennis Brutus.

Extent

4.00 Boxes

Abstract

Dennis Brutus was a South African anti-apartheid activist, poet, and educator. The Dennis Brutus Defense Committee was formed in response to efforts by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service to deport him following the invalidation of his Rhodesian passport. When British Rhodesia became independent Zimbabwe, Brutus' passport was revoked. As a result, Brutus was technically rendered 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 Series comprises for the most part, press clippings and photocopies of press clippings, dating from 1963 through 1983.

Arrangement Note

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.

Method of Acquisition

Records of the Dennis Brutus Defense Committee were deposited with the Northwestern University Library in August of 1985 by Dennis Brutus for the Committee. They were transferred to the University Archives from the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies in August of 1986, again on the authority of Dennis Brutus for the Committee, as Accession a86-145. Three boxes, including one half-size box, of duplicate photocopies are stored with the Series.

Related Materials

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

Processing Information

Patricia Cloud, August 15, 1986.
Title
Guide to the Dennis Brutus Defense Committee, Records of the
Author
Patricia Cloud
Date
03/08/1987
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

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

Contact:
Northwestern University Libraries
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US
847-467-3084