Anti-Apartheid Act Timeline
1972—Congressman Ronald V. Dellums (D-CA) introduced the CBC's first bill concerning apartheid.
1972—Congressman Charles C. Diggs, Jr. (D-MI) was instrumental in the formation of the National African Liberation Support Committee (ALSC). It was formed as a coalition between the Congressional Black Caucus and the community-based Black activist groups.
1977—TransAfrica was established. TransAfrica is a foreign policy advocacy organization designed to force attention on issues concerning Africa and the Caribbean. The CBC played a major role in the establishment of TransAfrica. Upon its creation, the group immediately began mobilizing opposition to U.S. support of apartheid.
1984—The Free South Africa Movement is launched. CBC members, alongside of labor unions, civil rights organizations, students and church groups, successfully organized a series of demonstrations outside of the South African embassy, as well as in local districts. These protests bring national attention to the South African situation and garner great public support.
1985—Congressman William H. Gray (D-PA), chairman of the Committee on Budget, introduced H.R. 1460, a bill that prohibited loans and new investment in South Africa and enforced sanctions on imports and exports with South Africa.
October 1986—The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 (H.R. 4868) became Public Law 99-440. This legislation called for sanctions against South Africa and stated preconditions for lifting the sanctions, including the release of all political prisoners. (Among these political prisoners was Nelson Mandela.)
1986—President Ronald Reagan attempts to veto the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, but was overridden. This override marked the first time in the 20th century that a president had a foreign policy veto overridden.
1988—Congressman Ronald V. Dellums (D-CA) introduced a bill to prohibit investments in, and certain other activities with respect to, South Africa. The House incorporated this measure as an amendment to the Comprehensive Act of 1986.
1990—South African President Frederik W. de Klerk lifted the ban outlawing the African National Congress (ANC) and frees Nelson Mandela from prison. South African nationalist leader Walter Sisulu and five other black anti-apartheid activists are freed after each spent more than 25 years in prison for plotting to overthrow white-minority rule.
1991—Nelson Mandela became president of the ANC.