February 11

February 11, 1990 – Nelson Mandela Is Released

On February 11, 1990, African National Congress leader and future South African President Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison after being held for 27 years. In a speech given on the same day of his release, Mandela said “In conclusion I wish to quote my own words during my trial in 1964. They are true today as they were then: I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Young Mandela

“Young” Nelson Mandela (1937)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, South Africa. On October 15, 1993. Mandela and former South African President F.W de Klerk received the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to end apartheid and for their work to help create a democratic South Africa. Mandela became South Africa’s first Black president on May 10, 1994. In Mandela’s speech he said, “Today, all of us do, by our presence here, and by our celebrations in other parts of our country and the world, confer glory and hope to newborn liberty. Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.” As South Africa’s oldest elected president at age 75, President Mandela served one term in office. His administration presided over the dismantling of apartheid throughout South Africa. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established under Mandela to investigate human rights and political violations committed between 1960 and 1994. A new constitution for South Africans began during the Mandela administration. He made a commitment to improve the poor economic standards of South Africa’s blacks with the enactment of many social and economic programs. Fourteen years after leaving the presidency, Nelson Mandela died in Johannesburg, South Africa on December 5, 2013.

Nelson Mandela’s Daughter Zindziswa Mandela at Africare’s 2010 Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner

Tribute To Black History Month

December 19, 1875 – April 3, 1950 – Carter Godwin Woodson

Carter G Woodson portrait

Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Dr. Carter G. Woodson  began “Negro History Week” the forerunner to Black History Month. Dr. Woodson was a noted, historian, journalist, author and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.