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Caroline Hunter Chronicles Fight to End South African Apartheid

Photo: Ray Ewing

(By Maia Coleman for The Vineyard Gazette) What does it take to start an international activist movement? This is the question that Caroline Hunter, Oak Bluffs resident and co-founder of the Polaroid Revolutionary Workers Movement, answered Thursday night as part of a series hosted by the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School in honor of Black History Month and the school’s 25 anniversary.

In an interactive presentation, Ms. Hunter described how a small grassroots effort grew into an international revolution that helped end American involvement with South Africa, helped free Nelson Mandela and eventually led to the end of apartheid in South Africa.

“My story is about the power of a good book, the impact of a good teacher and a strong family foundation,” Ms. Hunter told the audience of 75 viewers. “It’s about the power of the people and the power of black people.”

The story began, Ms. Hunter said, with her personal journey and her childhood under legal segregation in New Orleans.

“I have sat behind the colored signs on the bus. I have drunk water from the colored-only fountains and I have shopped at department stores where black people could not try on clothes, could not sit or eat at lunch counters,” Ms. Hunter said of her childhood.

She cited an inspiring social studies teacher from her youth who introduced her to the book Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton as a key inspiration. The book marked a turning point in her path, she said. Continue reading here.

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