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Boycott

bom01. Launch of the Boycott Movement, 1959

Report of the meeting held in Holborn Hall on 26 June 1959 to launch a boycott of South African goods. The speakers were Julius Nyerere, then President of the Tanganyika Legislative Council, Kanyama Chiume from Nyasaland (later Malawi), ANC representative Tennyson Makiwane, Vella Pillay, representing the South African Indian Congress, and Rev. Michael Scott. The meeting was organised by the Committee of African Organisations. This report appeared in the July issue of the Transvaal Indian Congress Bulletin and is the only known contemporary account of the meeting.

 
bom02. ‘Boycott Slave-Drivers Goods’

Leaflet published by the Committee of African Organisations at the launch of the boycott campaign. This was the first of many leaflets asking British shoppers to boycott South African goods. It was distributed in London shopping centres in the summer of 1959.

 
bom03. Letter from the Committee of African Organisations, July 1959

This letter asked supporters of the boycott of South African goods to distribute leaflets in three London shopping centres in August 1959. A special subcommittee of the Committee of African Organisations was set up to organise the boycott following the meeting to launch the Boycott Movement on 26 June. It was unable to sustain activity in the run-up to the October 1959 British general election and a re-formed boycott committee was set up in November.

 
bom04. Caribbean Women’s National Assembly

This leaflet was published by the Caribbean Women’s National Assembly in Trinidad in response to the British boycott initiative in 1959. The Boycott Movement wrote to organisations all over the world to internationalise the boycott campaign. Caribbean countries were among the first to boycott South African goods in the 1950s.

 
bom05. For and against the boycott, July 1959
 
Correspondence in a north London newspaper, the Finchley Press, 24 and 31 July 1959. Like the writer of one of these letters, opponents of the boycott often argued that it would hurt black workers. The Boycott Movement countered this by publicising an appeal for a boycott from ANC President Chief Albert Luthuli and other anti-apartheid leaders within South Africa.
 
bom06. Finchley public meeting


Leaflet advertising a meeting organised by a local Boycott Committee in Finchley and Friern Barnet, north London on 18 February 1960. In the run-up to the March Month of Boycott meetings like this were held all over Britain. One of the first local boycott actions took place in Finchley on Saturday 11 July 1959, organised by the Committee of African Organisations and Finchley Labour Party.

 
bom07. Appeal from Chief Luthuli


This statement was published in Boycott News early in 1960. It was signed by Chief Albert Luthuli, President of the ANC, Dr G M Naicker, President of the South African Indian Congress and Peter Brown, Chairman of the South African Liberal Party. For the next 35 years the AAM based its boycott campaigns on this appeal. Boycott News was widely circulated in the March Month of Boycott Action. Three issues of the broadsheet were produced.

 
Bom08. ‘Boycott South African Goods’

The March Month of Boycott in 1960 was supported by the local Africa Councils set up by the Africa Bureau. This leaflet was distributed by Tyneside Africa Council.

 
bom09. Rally to launch the March Month of Boycott


This leaflet advertised the march and rally on 28 February 1960 that launched the March Month of Boycott in 1960. Six thousand people marched from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. The speakers included Labour Leader Hugh Gaitskell, Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe, Conservative Lord Altrincham, ANC leader Tennyson Makiwane and Rita Smythe from the Co-operative Women’s Guild. The rally was chaired by Trevor Huddleston.

 
bom11. March Month of Boycott

Leaflet asking shoppers to boycott South African produce during the March Month of Boycott Action. 200,000 of these leaflets were distributed during the month, together with a further 350,000 copies of a special Labour Party version.

 
po001. Boycott South African Goods, March 1st to 31st

Poster for the March Month of Boycott, 1960. During the month Boycott Movement supporters all over Britain picketed shops and distributed leaflets asking shoppers not to buy South African goods. The boycott was supported by the Labour and Liberal Parties and the TUC. It was launched at a 15,000-strong rally in Trafalgar Square on 28 February.

 
bom10. ‘Boycott South African Goods March 1st to 31st 1960’

Leaflet asking people to take part in the March Month of Boycott. Around 700,000 copies were distributed in the run-up to the campaign launch on 28 February 1960.

 
pic6001. Boycott Movement march and rally, 28 February 1960

In March 1960 the newly formed South Africa Boycott Movement held a Month of Boycott Action. It was launched at a march from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. At the head of the march were ANC leader Tennyson Makiwane, Trevor Huddleston, Labour Party Leader Hugh Gaitskell and Dennis Phombeah of the London-based Committee of African Organisations. During the month, local councils all over Britain banned South African goods and supporters distributed leaflets to shoppers calling for a boycott.

 
pic6002. Boycott Movement march, 28 February 1960

On the march from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square to launch the March Month of Boycott Action in 1960. During the month, local councils all over Britain banned South African goods and supporters distributed leaflets to shoppers calling for a boycott. The month was organised by the Boycott Movement, set up in 1959.

 
pic6003. Boycott Movement rally, 28 February 1960
The crowd in Trafalgar Square at a rally to launch the March Month of Boycott Action. On the platform were the Leader of the Labour Party Hugh Gaitskell, ANC leader Tennyson Makiwane, Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe, Lord Altrincham from the Conservative Party, Rita Smythe from the Co-operative Women’s Guild and Trevor Huddleston. During the month, local councils all over Britain banned South African goods and supporters distributed leaflets to shoppers calling for a boycott.
 
pic6004. Boycott Movement rally, 28 February 1960

Trevor Huddleston speaking at the rally in Trafalgar Square to launch the March Month of Boycott Action. Right to left: ANC leader Tennyson Makiwane, Labour Party Leader Hugh Gaitskell and Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe. During the month, local councils all over Britain banned South African goods and supporters distributed leaflets to shoppers calling for a boycott. The month was organised by the Boycott Movement, set up in 1959.

 
 
bom12. ‘Boycott South African Goods’

Leaflet for window display in the March Month of Boycott Action.

 
bom13. Africa Year 1960

The Labour Party supported the March Month of Boycott Action as part of its 1960 Africa Year initiative. The Boycott Movement was initially wary about the boycott being taken over by the Labour Party, but its involvement made a big difference to the scale of the campaign. Twenty-one Labour local councils banned South African goods from their schools and town halls. The Party organised 27 local conferences all over Britain. The boycott was the main theme of a party political broadcast by Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell on 9 March.

 
bom15. Trade unionists back the boycott

The TUC distributed this leaflet calling on trade unionists to boycott South African goods in response to a call from the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). It asked them to support the Boycott Committee’s March Month of Boycott. It held back from taking the more radical step proposed by the ICFTU of asking its affiliated unions to instruct their members not to handle products from South Africa.

 
bom14. Boycott Month Campaign Plans

The Boycott Movement circulated these guidelines for setting up local organising committees for the March Boycott Month in 1960. They stressed the need to win broad support for the boycott and suggested approaching faith and women’s groups, trade unions, students and chambers of commerce. They asked supporters to talk to shoppers on the streets, not just pass resolutions.

 
 
 
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