Dennis Brutus Defense Committee Records

Institution: Northwestern University - University Archives
Deering Library Level 1, Room 110

1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
Phone: (847) 491-3354
Date: 1963-1983
Extent: 1.67 Linear Feet
Finding Aid: None
Access to this collection is restricted; please contact the holding institution for details.

Biographical/Historical Note:
The Dennis Brutus Defense Committee was formed in response to efforts by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service to deport South African poet and anti-apartheid activist Dennis Brutus. Brutus, who was expelled from South Africa in 1966, came to the United States in 1970 on a British visa from Rhodesia, his country of birth. When in 1980 British Rhodesia became independent Zimbabwe, Brutus' passport was revoked. The Dennis Brutus Defense Committee, among whose prominent members and supporters were Northwestern University Professor Jan Carew and then-Congressman Harold Washington, solicited funds for Brutus' defense and coordinated letter-writing and petition campaigns which gathered over 30,000 names. He received support from numerous legislators and religious, political, and academic leaders, and was granted political asylum in the United States in September of 1983, after a two-year court battle.

Scope and Content Note:
The Dennis Brutus Defense Committee Records are primarily comprised of press clippings concerning the political crisis in South Africa and the career of Dennis Brutus as anti-apartheid activist. The material on Brutus concerns chiefly the threat of deportation by the United States, notably photocopies of letters of support from prominent figures in academics and in government and petitions to the Department of Immigration Services urging that Brutus be granted asylum. Petition campaigns were mounted in Seattle, Massachusetts, Illinois, and overseas during the autumn of 1981.

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