Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)


School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name



First Advisor

Dr. Vicki Crawford


The main aim of this study is to make comprehensible the actual interactions or connections between the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the South African Student Organization (SASO) in their black freedom struggle between 1960-1977. The primary focus is on how broadly similar conceptualizations of black liberation by black students were modified or reinterpreted to suit local circumstances, and what occurred when similar ideologies were acted upon under conditions that were in some ways very different. There were cross-cultural links and mutual awareness between the freedom struggle of students in the United States and South Africa. For instance, in their condemnation of apartheid policy in South Africa during 1962, SNCC activists were confronting white power on behalf of black South Africans. In the same vein, SASO activists were inspired by the history of SNCC freedom struggle in the United States. They even employed SNCC and its Black Power language in their formulation of policies and ideology. This ideological congruence between SNCC and SASO manifested itself in a number of instances. First, students in both organizations confronted comparable questions on the methods to be used in their freedom struggle. The alternative in both cases was nonviolent resistance to challenge the status quo, and a revolutionary violence to overthrow the system. Although this

similarity, per se, does not tell the whole story, evidence by SASO activists conclusively

proves that SASO's moral idealism was largely influenced by SNCC. This is not,

however, to suggest that SASO was a carbon copy of SNCC; yet the profound effect of

SNCC and its Black Power variant on SASO’s particular language and slant must be

recognized and acknowledged if the developments of the 1970s are to be understood in

the total context of the black south African intellectual struggle. Another issue that arose in the context of students' discussions was the role of whites in the black struggle. In South Africa, this took place under the rubric of Black Consciousness; in the United States it was espoused under the slogan of Black power. How all these common ideological and tactical issues were debated and finally resolved, and how the theoretical and practical results of these deliberations affected the historical trajectory of the respective student struggles, is the main concern of this study.

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