This Day in Black History: April 8, 1960

The South African Nationalist Government banned the African National Congress on April 8, 1960.

Posted: 04/08/2013 08:00 AM EDT

The African National Congress is the governing party in South Africa, initially formed to ensure equal rights for non-whites in South Africa in 1912. When the country began implementing territorial segregation in 1913, the ANC responded with strategies to challenge the discriminatory policies. Nelson Mandela was one of the young members pulled in to create the Youth League that would resort to more radical measures against the racial segregation laws known as apartheid.

While the ANC was pulling for equality for all residents despite race, the nationalist Pan African Congress believed that South Africa was to cater solely to its Black residents. Public unrest escalated until it resulted in the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, which left 69 dead when South African police fired on 300 protesters. In response, the government banned both parties on April 8, 1960. Mandela was eventually arrested and sentenced to life in prison.

After going underground, the ANC spent 30 years in exile using guerrilla activities to further its anti-apartheid motives. The group eventually gained military and international and was reinstated in South Africa in February 1990. Apartheid eventually ended in 1993. Mandela was released and in 1994, he became the first democratically elected president of South Africa.

 

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(Photo: Courtesy African National Congress)

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