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Willard Johnson demands the resignation of the South African Consul in Boston
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[Apartheid protest at the South African Consulate, tape 2]
Original Airdate: 12/4/1984

Length: 00:16:28
Item Type: newstape - original footage

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Full Description

Visual: Police officers and the media crowd the entrance of the building housing the South African Consulate at 100 Charles River Place in Boston. Mel King (political activist) Charles Yancey (Boston City Council), and Willard Johnson (head of TransAfrica) stand at the doors to the consulate, demanding to be let in. Police officers refuse to let them in. Johnson demands to see Richard Blankstein (honorary consul to South Africa). Yancey, King and Johnson say that they have a right to enter the building. King accuses the police officers of supporting apartheid. Johnson insists on seeing Blankstein. Johnson says that he will demand Blankstein's resignation from his post. A police officer invites Johnson, Yancey and King to confer with him. The four men walk away from the entrance doors. They are followed by the media. The four men confer. Police radios are audible. The police officers agree to allow four people into the building. The men wait at the entrance to the building.

V: Johnson tells the media that the protestors have asked for the right to meet with Blankstein; that they would like to ask Blankstein to resign from his post as honorary consul. Johnson says that the protestors are acting in the best interest of the public. Johnson says that the protestors are willing to meet with Blankstein outside of the building. Johnson says that Blankenstein must resign publicly; that his law firm must sever ties with South Africa. Johnson says that the police officer has gone inside to ask Blankstein to meet with the protestors. Johnson says that the protestors' goal is to force the resignation of Blankstein; that the protestors will focus next on other corporations with ties to South Africa.

V: Four protestors, including Yancey and Johnson, are let into the building. They are accompanied by Themba Vilakazi (member, African National Congress). Police officers stand guard at the entrance to the building. Protestors and the media wait on the sidewalk outside of the entrance. Tug Yourgrau reports from the sidewalk in front of the entrance. The chants of protestors are audible. Yourgrau reports that Blankstein has been honorary counsel to South Africa in Boston for two years; that Blankstein has refused to be interviewed on camera. Yourgrau reports that the protestors have promised to picket Blankstein's offices again of Friday; that a candlelight vigil has been planned on Sunday at the Boston Public Library. Yourgrau does several takes of his comments for the news story.

V: Police officers are lined up in front of the entrance to the building. The sidewalk is crowded with members of the media, protestors and bystanders.

V: Vilakazi talks to the media. Vilakazi reports that Blankenstein has signed a letter of resignation, which he will hand to the protestors. Vilakazi reports that Blankenstein has said that the actions of the protestors influenced his decision to resign. Vilakazi notes that Blankenstein has said that he does not support apartheid.

V: The media and protestors peer curiously into the lobby of the building. Johnson exits the building, accompanied by King and Yancey. Johnson reads a statement of resignation from Blankstein. Blankstein's statement describes his post as honorary consul. The statement denies that Blankstein is a supporter of apartheid. The statement reads that Blankstein does not wish to be made an apologist for the South African government. Johnson shows the letter to the media. Johnson says that Blankenstein's resignation is a victory for the protestors. Johnson says that the protestors will target other corporations with ties to the South African government.

V: Johnson, King and Yancey walk away from the building. The three men walk toward a group of protestors on the street. A large group of protestors is picketing on the sidewalk. The protestors chant, "Blankstein, resign." Charles Stith (Union United Methodist Church) stands on the bed of a pick-up truck, leading the chant through a bullhorn. Johnson takes the bullhorn from the man and addresses the crowd. Stith starts to cheer. King and Yancey stand on the bed of the pick-up truck with Johnson. Johnson announces Blankstein's resignation and holds up the letter. Johnson reads a portion of the statement from Blankstein. The crowd cheers as Johnson reads the statement.
Shots of the crowd of protestors.
The crowd chants, "Freedom, yes. Apartheid, no."

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