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GET UP, STAND UP: The Story of Pop and Protest Flash Points
About the Program
Revolutionary Music
Flash Points
Great Depression
U.S. Labor Movement
Civil Rights
Vietnam War
Birth of Bangladesh
Central American Wars
Ethiopian Famine
War in Iraq

Watch the video (Nelson Mandela)
South Africa's system of racial segregation began to be codified into law with the election to power of the National Party in 1948. Apartheid classified individuals based on race -- white, black, colored, and Indian -- and required segregation in housing, education, employment, public accommodations, and transportation. Through organizations such as the African National Congress (ANC), headed by Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo, blacks initially opposed apartheid through nonviolent means. But the government's massacre of black protestors in Sharpeville (1960) led many leaders, including Mandela, to support armed resistance, which began with targeted acts of sabotage and escalated into a guetrilla war against the South African security forces. International opposition to the racist and brutal policies of the white minority government grew throughout the 1970s and '80s, with countries instituting arms embargos and economic sanctions against South Africa. The internal strife and external pressures for change finally led to the dismantling of the apartheid laws starting in 1990.

Among the songs that focused attention on the struggle were Hugh Masekela's "Bring Him Back Home" and The Specials' "Free Nelson Mandela," which called for the release of the jailed antiapartheid leader; Peter Gabriel's "Biko," about the killing of activist Steven Biko; and Artists United Against Apartheid's "Sun City," which described the conditions under apartheid and championed an artist boycott of the South African resort.

Black South African shows his passbook, anti-Apartheid concert, and teacher in a classroom in a South African squatter camp

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(Photos: UN Photo# 55572C [bottom left] and UN Photo# 143373 [bottom right])

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Produced by: Thirteen/WNET

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