Friday, April 9, 2021

Houser's "Bureaucrats of Liberation"

Myra Ann Houser, Associate Professor of History, Ouachita Baptist University, has published Bureaucrats of Liberation: Southern African and American Lawyers During the Apartheid Era (Leiden University Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press, 2021):

Bureaucrats of Liberation
narrates the history of the Southern Africa Project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Right under law, a civil rights organization founded in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy. Between 1963 and 1994, the Southern Africa Project connected lawyers from Namibia, South Africa, and the United States. Within the Project’s network, activist lawyers exchanged funding resources, provided logistical support for political trials, and mediated new voting and governmental systems.

The Project’s history provides a lens into twentieth century geopolitics tied to anti-apartheid, decolonization, Cold War, and movements agitating against white supremacy. In doing so, it pays careful attention to the Project’s different eras, beginning with US Executive Branch officials helming the effort and evolving into a space where more activist-oriented attorneys on both sides of the Atlantic drove its mission and politics.

--Dan Ernst