December 2013 Mourning an Icon FROM PAGE 14
intelligence agent Gordon Winter unveiled a plot by the government to assassinate Mandela: The political prisoner would be allowed to escape and then shot during the recapture. The news of the foiled plan only made Mandela an even more potent symbol of black resistance, and an international outcry for his release began.
In the U.S., the Reagan
administration maintained a policy of so-called constructive engagement regarding the apartheid government of South Africa, rejecting economic sanctions and divestment from the country, which the United Nations General Assembly demanded. Ronald Reagan, who considered the ANC a terrorist organization, said in 1981 that he was loyal to the apartheid regime because it was "a country that has stood by us in every war we've ever fought, a country that, strategically, is essential to the free world in its production of minerals." (Long after his release -- until 2008 -- Mandela and other ANC members were not allowed to visit the U.S. outside of U.N. headquarters without a special waiver from the secretary of state because of their "terrorist" political affiliation.)
In 1982 he and the other ANC
leaders were moved to Pollsmoor Prison, a maximum-security prison. President P.W. Botha granted Mandela's release in 1985, but only if he renounced armed struggle. Mandela rejected the offer. Despite the groundswell of support for Mandela's release, negotiations seemed to stall while Botha remained in office.
Botha suffered a stroke in 1989
and was replaced that year by Frederik Willem de Klerk. Mandela's release finally took place in February 1990, and de Klerk also lifted the ban on the ANC, removed restrictions on political groups and suspended executions.
Mandela emerged from prison as
committed and uncompromising as ever, urging other nations to continue their pressure on the South African government for constitutional reform. He also stated that the armed struggle would continue until blacks received the right to vote.
The Triumphant President In 1991 Mandela was elected
president of the ANC, with his colleague Tambo serving as national chairperson. Mandela also engaged in often strained negotiations with de Klerk on developing the country's first multiracial elections. Violence erupted -- the 1993 assassination of ANC leader Chris Hani was just one example -- and Mandela addressed the nation, urging calm.
In 1993, Mandela and de Klerk
were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to dismantle apartheid. On April 27, 1994, South Africa held its first democratic elections. The following month, Mandela, at 75, was inaugurated as the country's first black president. De Klerk was his first deputy.
Mandela released his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom,
in 1994. He had secretly written most of it while incarcerated. In 1995 the Queen of England presented him with the Order of Merit.
While in office, Mandela focused
on transitioning the government from apartheid rule to a black majority. He utilized the country's love of rugby to promote reconciliation between blacks and whites, even urging blacks to support the much loathed national rugby team. In 1995 the country hosted the World Cup. Mandela's initiative was the subject of the film Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman as Mandela.
Mandela also worked to bolster
the South African economy, which was near collapse. He established the Reconstruction and Development Plan, which funded initiatives to create jobs, fair housing and basic health care. In 1996 he signed into law a new South African Constitution, which guaranteed rights of minorities and freedom of expression as well as a solid centralized government.
The Elder Statesman Mandela decided not to run for
re-election in 1999 (ANC member Thabo Mbeki won election that year). Officially retired from politics, Mandela settled into his role as one of the world's most revered elder statesmen, as well as an international civil rights icon. He actively raised funds for his foundation, which has built schools and clinics in South Africa's rural areas. In his "retirement," Mandela also went on to write several more books, including No Easy Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela: The Struggle Is My Life and Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales.
Mandela was committed to
fighting AIDS, a disease that killed his son in 2005. He spoke at the International AIDS Conference in Durban in 2000 and in Bangkok in 2004. He also spoke out against the Mbeki government's controversial response to the AIDS crisis (Mbeki questioned the link between HIV and the disease).
In 2001 he was diagnosed with
prostate cancer. In 2004, at age 85, Mandela retired from public life and returned to his native village of Qunu. He formed the Elders in 2007 to address global issues and promote peace. Members of the independent group of world leaders include Bishop Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt and Jimmy Carter.
Mandela's 90th birthday in
2008 was the subject of international celebrations; one highlight was a concert in London's Hyde Park. He also made a rare public appearance during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Among his numerous honors
and awards, Mandela received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush in 2002. In 2004 the city of Johannesburg awarded him the highest honor: the Freedom of the City.
Mandela was married three times:
to Evelyn Ntoko Mase, from 1944 to 1957, with whom he had two sons and two daughters; Winnie Madikizela- Mandela, from 1958 to1996, with whom he had two daughters; and Graça Machel, whom he married in 1998.
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BY NORTHSTAR NEWS A United States Department of
Labor Administrative Law Judge has ordered Bank of America to pay $2.2 million in back wages to more than 1,100 African Americans who were rejected for jobs. The ruling ends a nearly two-decades old legal dispute.
Judge Linda S. Chapman ordered
the Charlotte-based megabank to pay $964,033 to 1,034 applicants who were rejected for jobs in 1993. Bank officials also were ordered to pay approximately $1.3 million to individuals who were rejected for jobs between 2002 and 2008.
Judge Chapman issued her ruling
after determining that bank officials applied unfair and inconsistent selection criteria resulting in the rejection of African Americans for jobs as tellers, entry-level clerical and administrative positions.
Bank officials also repeatedly
challenged the authority of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The Office of the Comptroller
of the Currency regulates of BofA, a national bank based in Charlotte, N.C.
Bank of America is a federally
insured financial institution that provides a variety of services and products, making it a federal contractor under the purview of OFCCP's regulatory requirements.
The OFCCP began a routine
investigation of B of A that revealed indications of systemic hiring discrimination affecting black-job applicants at the bank's Charlotte facility.
After conciliation efforts failed,
the Solicitor of Labor in 1997 filed an administrative complaint against the bank for violating Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment practices on the basis of race.
"Our investigators and attorneys
prevailed despite decades of stalling tactics," said Solicitor of Labor Patricia Smith. "This case demonstrates that the department will not be deterred in our pursuit of justice for job seekers."
The Hampton Roads Messenger 15
Bank of America Ordered to Pay Minority Job Applicants $2.2 Million
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