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Albert John Luthuli

(c. 1898—1967) human rights campaigner and president-general of the African National Congress


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(b. 1898, d. 21 July 1967).

President-General of the ANC 1952–67 Born in Bulawayo (Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe), he studied at Adams College and stayed there to train teachers. He became Secretary of the African Teachers' Association in 1928, but left in 1936, when he was elected chief of his people in Groutville (Natal). His effort to revive the economic fortunes of his own and other Black people directed his attention to the ANC, which he joined in 1945. President of the Natal branch of the ANC from 1950, the government withdrew him from his chieftainship in 1952, whereupon he was elected president-general of the ANC. A committed Christian, he managed to extend the ANC's membership while maintaining the principle of non-violence. His willingness to cooperate with Whites (particularly from the Communist Party), Indians, and Coloureds led to conflict with the ANC's more radical members, who broke away under Sobukwe to form the PAC. In 1961, he became the first African to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, the money from which he used to buy farms for political exiles in Swaziland.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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