Nelson Mandela is heralded as the figure who led the movement to dismantle South Africa's policy of racial segregation, or apartheid, which was in place from 1948 to 1994. A growing international campaign began in the late 1970s and continued into the 80s to push for economic sanctions against and divestment from South Africa. The movement was especially vibrant on college campuses across America, where hundreds and sometimes thousands defied campus police and faced arrest to call for an end to apartheid.
At the height of the movement, students from at least 22 colleges boycotted classes and rallies were held in at least 51 other schools. California universities saw some of the greatest participation, with tens of thousands of students calling for total divestiture.