Sharpeville Massacre; We Must Never Forget

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The infamous massacre

On March 21, 1960, in the apartheid state of South Africa, the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) launched its anti-pass campaign. Indigenous African people were required to carry identity passes at all times. Under the campaign slogan “No Bail! No Defense! No Fine!” the PAC organized people to leave their passes at home. They planned to fill the fill the jails and shut down the economy.

PAC organizers gathered in Sharpeville mobilizing people to participate in the non-violent demonstration chanting “Our Land” and “Down with passes!” Thousands converged on the police station, police panicked and opened fire killing 69 and seriously wounding 180.

“The Sharpevillle massacre catalyzed international support for the Anti-Apartheid struggle and forced the South African liberation movement to take up arms,” explained Attorney Roger Wareham of the Pan African Solidarity Hague Committee (PASHC).

“Black folks in the US faced similar responses to peaceful protests to secure their human  rights. On February 8, 1968 Blacks peacefully picketing a segregated bowling alley near the campus of South Carolina State College in Orangeburg were fired on by state troopers. Three were killed and 28 wounded.

And on May 15, 1970, Black students at Jackson State, an historically Black College, were killed by police while  protesting the US invasion of Cambodia. These litttle-known events helped transform the movement from civil rights into one for human rights and Black Power Movement.

Today the attack on African people is relentless and all-encompassing. Now, more than ever we must understand what Malcolm X and Dr. King told us.”

A PASHC commemoration forum “The Lessons of Sharpeville, Orangeburg, and Jackson State”will be held at on Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 6:30 PM at Medgar Evers College, 1637 Bedford Avenue. Speakers will include Attorneys King Downing, Alfred Toussaint, and Roger Wareham.



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