SARAP Howard University
South African Research and Archival Project
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About SARAP and its Vision

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The South African Research and Archival Project (SARAP) is located on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C.  It works closely with the Moorland Spingarn Research Center, also at Howard University, and has established relationships with other archives in the United States and South Africa.

This project began as an effort to identify, locate and describe documentation about the diasporic relationship between blacks in South Africa and the United States.  However, the reality is that the apartheid regime so rigidly restricted opportunities for relationships within and especially outside the country that many blacks were forced to migrate to neighboring countries and beyond where they reside for long periods of time.  Indeed, many of them had children born abroad but who retained an identity with South Africa.  During the liberation struggle, for example, many black South Africans migrated to Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania and other countries where large settlements/camps were established and operated essentially as autonomous areas.  And as the South African government became more and more abusive, outside individuals and groups could only offer opportunities effectively to those black South Africans abroad.  This was especially clear in the case of scholarship and other kinds of assistance that was provided by groups in the United States, the focus of this project.  The concept thus includes black South Africans in southern Africa generally.  In addition, several of the pro-South Africa groups in the United States were racially integrated; therefore, while the emphasis is on black Americans, other groups receive attention as well.


There is a scope and content note specific to each of these collections that one can reach by clicking on Researcher's Guides and then navigating to the desired collection.  The table of contents for each collection has a link to the scope and content note for that specific collection.  In addition, we also indicate the location of each collection and any known restrictions.

The records of the Sub-Committee on Africa in the Charles Diggs Papers, located in the Moorland Research Center (MSRC), document the work of Diggs during his tenure as chairman of the Subcommittee.  These records contain materials dated from 1959 and 1978, the bulk of which dates from 1969 and 1978.  The following subjects are included in these records: anti-apartheid campaigns, domestic and international race issues, interaction with constituents, and general activities of other committees on which Diggs served.  Individual correspondence between Diggs, his constituents, representatives of corporations and foundations is also included.

The Inventory of the Southern African References in the American Society of African Culture (AMSAC) Collection is part of the larger American Society of African Culture records, also housed in the Moorland Spingarn Research Center. These records document the work of AMSAC from its inception in 1957 until its cessation of operation in 1969.  However, the bulk of the records relevant to southern Africa covers the period 1963-1967, with most of the material emphasizing AMSAC's work in the early 1960s, particularly 1963 - the year of the International AMSAC Conference "Southern Africa in Transition."

In addition to the records of the Sub-Committee on Africa and AMSAC, SARAP has examined the following collections in the MSRC: the Southern Africa Support Project (SASP) which contains correspondence, pamphlets, reports, flyers, and planning materials; selected boxes from the African National Congress United Nations Mission Records, the African National Congress Washington, DC Mission Records, and the Pan Africanist Congress Mission Records at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa. The team has also examined Department of State records at the National Archives at Adelphia Rd. in College Park, Maryland. Those records cover the years 1948 to 1973 and include reports, cables, telegrams, airgrams, interviews, and a variety of published materials, etc.


 The SARAP Team consists of advanced graduate students at Howard University assisted by consultants with different competencies.  The current team includes the following: Charles Denton Johnson, African and African Diaspora History, Assistant Director and Azaria Mbughuni, African and African Diaspora History, Researcher, Neo Ramoupi, African History and Public History, Researcher, and Erin Freas, African and U.S. History, Researcher.  Former team members include researchers Wendi Manuel-Scott, Caribbean and African Diaspora History; Joseph Ofori, African and African Diaspora History; Jim Harper, African and U.S. History, and Milagros Denis, Caribbean and African Diaspora History.  These team members have studied and conducted research in African, American and African-American history and culture, and have had experience in archival and museum research.  Joseph E. Harris, Distinguished Professor of History, is the Project Director.

The project revolves around independent research and an interdisciplinary seminar that convenes weekly to discuss the findings and work of each researcher.  Team members critique each other's work and make recommendations about materials to read, repositories to visit, collections to examine, individuals to interview, and ways of presenting materials.  Click here to see a video of how the team works.  The team's work is supported by Information Technology specialists and consultants who assist with the technical aspects of the project as well as helping to design, build, and maintain the website.

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South African Ambassador Sheila Sisulu and
Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert
Mazazi Union of Students in the Americas
(Mazazi - Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe)
Michael Babatunde Olutunji, Harry Belafonte, and Miriam Makeba
Stewart Hall University of Fort Hare
Congressman Charles Coles Diggs;
Senator (and later President) John F. Kennedy;
Unknown; Dr. John A. Davis of the American Society of African Culture