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Yac - Issue File - Famous campaigns

posted by richard

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Yac - Issue File - Famous campaigns

Some of the famous campaigns below have helped to shape the way we live today.

Anti-Slavery campaign
For about four centuries, millions of African men, women and children were taken from their homes and sold as slaves across the world. The first protests against this practice came from the slaves themselves who rebelled against their captors. By the end of the seventeenth century, many white campaigners from countries such as the UK began to argue that the slave trade was immoral and to campaign against it through methods such as public lectures, petitions and boycotts of goods from countries that used slaves. These campaigners’ work, in combination with the rebellions of the slaves themselves, eventually led to important laws abolishing slavery and the slave trade.

UNESCO - The Triangular Trade

UNESCO - The Abolition of Slavery

The Suffragette Movement – votes for women
Before the early 20th century women were not allowed to vote and a number of women, who became known as the suffragettes, began to campaign energetically for change. Many suffragettes were prepared to go to prison or even risk their lives for their cause, sometimes resorting to extreme methods of protest such as damaging buildings and chaining themselves to railings. Other women were more moderate and argued their cause through petitions, publications and rallies. During the First World War, many women proved what they were capable of by taking on men’s jobs and in 1918 women over 30 were given the vote. In 1928 the vote was extended to all women over 21, making them equal with men.

The National Archives - Gaining Women's Suffrage

The Anti-Apartheid movement
Another important campaign was the anti-apartheid campaign in South Africa, in which people such as Nelson Mandela  rotested against the policy of apartheid (separateness). Under apartheid, black and white South Africans were forced to live separate lives, with many black populations being forced to leave their homes and settle in poor slums. South African campaigners protested through methods such as strikes, protest marches and rallies. Many other countries, including the UK, gradually began to refuse to trade with South African businesses and many people boycotted South African tourism. Anti-apartheid campaigners were eventually successful and, despite spending over 25 years in prison, Nelson Mandela was elected as the first black leader of South Africa in 1994.

BBC News - Timeline: South Africa
BBC News - Profile: Nelson Mandela

Make Poverty History
A more recent campaign is the 2005 Make Poverty History (MPH) campaign, in which nearly 400 organisations, including Plan UK, joined together to persuade powerful world leaders to work towards a fairer deal in trade, aid and debt relief for the world’s poorest countries. 8 million people in the UK showed their support by wearing the MPH white band and on three White Band Days people dressed in white and formed giant human bands. While this campaign is very young, progress has been made in some areas such as debt relief, although there is a lot of work that still needs to be done.

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