Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

History

First Advisor's Name

Alex Lichtenstein

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Alexandra Cornelius-Diallo

Third Advisor's Name

Jean Rahier

Date of Defense

3-31-2011

Abstract

This thesis fills a gap in the existing historiography of comparative American-South African history. Using primary source documents such as trial testimony, newspapers, books, memoirs, and poetry, this thesis compares the ways in which African and African American activists remembered their past and deployed it in the context of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) and the Black Power movement. Both movements seized upon particular memories of the anti-colonial struggle of the nineteenth century and of slave revolts, respectively. In keeping with their policy of non-racialism, MK looked to a variety of colonial wars waged by Xhosa, Zulu, and other African states. Black Power activists challenged depictions of contented slaves in a bid to reclaim their history from their oppressors. At a broader theoretical level, this thesis demonstrates that memory is strongly implicated in race-making and protest movements.

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