"Appeal for Action Against Apartheid", Statement issued jointly by Chief Albert J Luthuli and the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

10 December 1962

Published by the United Nations at the request of the Special Committee against Apartheid in a pamphlet in tribute to Dr. King.

[This joint statament, initiated by Chief Lutuli and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was signed by many prominent Americans and promoted the public campaign for sanctions against South Africa.]

In 1957, an unprecedented Declaration of Conscience was issued by more than 100 leaders from every continent. That Declaration was an appeal to South Africa to bring its policies into line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The Declaration was a good start in mobilising world sentiment to back those in South Africa who acted for equality. The non-whites took heart in learning that they were not alone. And many white supremacists learned for the first time how isolated they were.

Measures of Desperation

Subsequent to the Declaration, the South African Government took the following measures:

The Choice

The deepening tensions can lead to two alternatives:


Intensified persecution may lead to violence and armed rebellion once it is clear that peaceful adjustments are no longer possible. As the persecution has been inflicted by one racial group upon all other racial groups, large-scale violence would take the form of a racial war.

This "solution" may be workable. But mass racial extermination will destroy the potential for interracial unity in South Africa and elsewhere.

Therefore, we ask for your action to make the following possible.

Solution 2

"Nothing which we have suffered at the hands of the government has turned us from our chosen path of disciplined resistance," said Chief Albert J. Lutuli at Oslo. So there exists another alternative - and the only solution which represents sanity - transition to a society based upon equality for all without regard to colour. u2e.

Any solution founded on justice is unattainable until the Government of South Africa is forced by pressures, both internal and external, to come to terms with the demands of the non-white majority.

The apartheid republic is a reality today only because the peoples and governments of the world have been unwilling to place her in quarantine.

Translate public opinion into public action

We, therefore, ask all men of goodwill to take action against apartheid in the following manner:

Hold meetings and demonstrations on December 10, Human Rights Day:

Urge your church, union, lodge, or club to observe this day as one of protest;

Urge your Government to support economic sanctions;

Write to your mission to the United Nations urging adoption of a resolution calling for international isolation of South Africa;

Don`t buy South Africa`s products;

Don`t trade or invest in South Africa;

Translate public opinion into public action by explaining facts to all peoples, to groups to which you belong, and to countries of which you are citizens until AN EFFECTIVE INTERNATIONAL QUARANTINE OF APARTHEID IS ESTABLISHED.


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