Divestment for Humanity: The Anti-Apartheid Movement at the University of Michigan


Over the course of this project, the "Divestment for Humanity" team interviewed nine people who were involved in the campus anti-apartheid movements in the United States. The full transcripts of the interviews are displayed on this page.

Matthew Countryman was a student activist at Yale University in the mid-1980s. He discusses the roles of various student groups and outside organizations in building support for the anti-apartheid movement on Yale's campus, including the construction of shantytowns as a form of protest. Countryman is currently an Associate Professor of History and American Culture at the University of Michigan.

Debi Duke was a core member of the Washtenaw County Coalition Against Apartheid during the divestment efforts of the late 1970s at the University of Michigan. An experienced organizer for various progressive causes, she now works in education in the greater New York City area. 

Heidi Gottfried was a founding member of the Washtenaw County Coalition Against Apartheid. She served on a University of Michigan committee assembled to review divestment proposals and also helped lead protests at various Regents' meetings. Currently, she is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. 

Tom Hayden was an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan from 1957-1961 and then a graduate student from 1963-1964. He was also a writer and editor-in-chief for the Michigan Daily, as well as president of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in the early 1960s. Considered the primary author of the Port Huron Statement-widely recognized as the founding document of SDS and the New Left-Hayden is an essential figure for the protest movements of the mid-to-late 20th century. In the 1980s, he became involved with the anti-apartheid protests on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley.  

Ansell Horn is a native of South Africa and founding member of the South Africa Liberation Committee at the University of Michigan. He and his colleagues helped raise awareness of the anti-apartheid struggle on UM's campus through public events, such as guest speakers and debates, and coordinated with anti-apartheid groups regionally and nationally. Currently, he works with those experiencing homelessness as a Nurse Practitioner with Lutheran Family Health Centers Community Medicine Program in New York.  

Josué Njock Libii served as president of the African Students' Association (ASA) at the University of Michigan during the late 1970s. The ASA helped lead efforts to educate and recruit anti-apartheid supporters on UM's campus. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW).

Alice Preketes is a graduate of the University of Michigan and was an employee in UM's Donor Relations Office during the period when anti-apartheid protest began to take hold on campus. She shares her perceptions of the movement from the vantage point of the University administration. She is currently an owner, instructor, and trainer at Sandcastle Farm in the Greater Detroit area. 

Joel Samoff was a professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan during the 1970s and played an integral part in the anti-apartheid movement on campus. Before arriving at UM, he was involved with the movement to divest as a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and he continued his activism in the 1980s and beyond as a professor at Stanford University. He is currently a Consulting Professor at Stanford, and continues to teach and research on various subjects, including African education and development.

Alan Wald joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1975 after extensive experience as a radical activist and SDS member. He became heavily involved with anti-apartheid efforts on campus, speaking out at public events and Regents' meetings, as well as working closely with other movement leaders. He is currently a Professor Emeritus of English Language and Literature and Professor Emeritus of American Culture at the University of Michigan.