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Honoring Mandela — Detroit style

Nelson Mandela  COURTESY PHOTO

Nelson Mandela
COURTESY PHOTO

The fight against South African apartheid brought together activists across the globe. Dr. Charles G. Adams, pastor of Hartford Memorial Baptists Church, was one of the Detroit’s most strident opponents of apartheid. On Feb. 9, he will be the keynote speaker at “Praise Song for Mandela,” a celebration of the life of the South African freedom fighter and statesman at Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, presented by the museum in conjunction with the of Delta Sigma Theta Inkster Alumnae Chapter.

“Though ‘Praise Song for Mandela’ had been planned now for several months, his passing in December makes its timing that much more poignant,” said Juanita Moore, President and CEO of the Wright Museum. “President Mandela’s life was an example for us all, and it’s most fitting that we honor him this Black History Month.”

DSTIAC President Soraya Williams Farver is excited to showcase the role Detroit and Detroiters played in the struggle. “It’s very important for us to remember that it took the work and sacrifices of people throughout the world to end apartheid,” Farver said. “Detroit’s activists were especially critical to that effort and we want to make sure they get their due.”

In addition to Dr. Adams’ words, poets Gloria House and jessica Care moore and the Detroit School of Arts’ Boys Choir will sing Mandela’s praises with a decidedly Detroit accent. Care moore is hoping to write a new piece about Mandela to perform at the event. “Mandela’s life work inspired the student rebellions across the country, and the struggle for African studies departments and basic human rights for Black people,” Care moore told the Michigan Citizen. “Detroit has always been at the center of global movements for the oppressed and working class. (Mandela) inspired me when he came to Tiger Stadium. I was there; I was proud.”

Additionally, the event will applaud the contributions of 10 Detroit anti-apartheid leaders: Dr. Adams, Margaret Baylor, Akua Budu-Watkins, Dr. Gloria House, The Hon. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Shahida Mausi, Christine Root, The Hon. Audley Kano Smith, The Hon. Virgil Smith and Dr. David Wiley.

Tickets for the event are $15 and are available for purchase at the Wright Museum, by phone at 800.838.3006 or online at TheWright.org. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Adelaide Tambo School for the Disabled in Soweto, South Africa.

— Staff report

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