On this day in 1990, Nelson Mandela, the former leader of the African National Congress and world-renowned champion for racial equality, is freed after serving 27 years in prison. Mandela was convicted of sabotage in 1964 for his part in organizing a paramilitary branch of the ANC, the oldest black political organization in South Africa, to engage in guerilla warfare against the white-ruled apartheid government, which enforced racially oppressive laws against Blacks in South Africa between 1948 and 1994. Upon his release, Nelson worked with then-President F.W. de Klerk to install a multi-racial government in the country and, in 1993, both men were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The following year, the ANC won an electoral majority in the country's first democratic elections, and Mandela was elected South Africa’s first Black president.
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(Photo: ULLI MICHEL/Reuters)