Black History Month Report: Nelson Mandela

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Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was an important figure in South Africa who helped to end apartheid. He was born on July 18, 1918 in the tiny African village of Mvezo. His father was a counsel to the Thembu king and Mandela was supposed to inherit this position.

At the age of seven Nelson Mandela was the first became the first of his family to attend school where a Methodist teacher gave him the name Nelson. His father died when he was nine. Mandela was adopted by the Regent Jongintaba and went to school right next to his palace. After some more schooling, in 1937, Nelson moved to Healdtown to attend Wesleyan college. He boycotted a Student Council and got kicked out of school. Not too soon after that the Regent Jongintaba arranged marriages for Nelson and his son. Neither of the young men liked this idea so they fled to Johannesburg where Nelson Mandela completed his degree at the University of South Africa.

In 1942 Nelson Mandela joined the Youth League of the African National Congress and became involved in passive resistance against the laws that made black people carry passes and other discriminating laws. On December 5, 1956, Nelson Mandela was arrested along with 150 and charged with treason. The trial lasted until 1961 and all were acquitted. Then a new class of black activists emerged demanding bigger and more drastic steps. In 1959 the ANC lost most of its militant support when the Africanists broke away to form the Pan Africanist Congress.

In 1961 Nelson became the leader of the ANC's armed wing which he co-founded. In 1962 he was arrested for leading workers to strike and leaving the country illegally. He was sentenced to five years in prison. While he was in jail, most of the important ANC...