Bureaucrats of Liberation narrates the history of the Southern Africa Project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a civil rights organization founded in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy. Between 1963 and 1994, the Southern Africa Project connected lawyers from Namibia, South Africa, and the United States. Within the Project’s network, activist lawyers exchanged funding resources, provided logistical support for political trials, and mediated new voting and governmental systems.
The Project’s history provides a lens into twentieth century geopolitics tied to anti-apartheid, decolonization, Cold War, and movements agitating against white supremacy. In doing so, it pays careful attention to the Project’s different eras, beginning with US Executive Branch officials helming the effort and evolving into a space where more activist-oriented attorneys on both sides of the Atlantic drove its mission and politics.
Myra Ann Houser is assistant professor of history and coordinator of the BA in Social Justice Studies at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas. She has published in Atlantic Studies, Critical Arts, History in Africa, and Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies, as well as within edited volumes.