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Campaign to Oppose Bank Loans to South Africa (COBLSA) records

Identifier: 736

Scope and Contents

The records of the Campaign to Oppose Bank Loans to South Africa (COBLSA) consist of research files, collected news clippings, presentation papers, publications, periodicals, and reports (1977-1983), as well as files generated during the tenure of National Coordinator Carole Collins (1981-1983). A smaller amount of material that the organization created includes correspondence, occasional minutes of meetings and reports, lists of bank lenders to South Africa and networking contacts. Of interest throughout centers on the documentation regarding actions and bank loans for civic and labor organizations, bank lenders, universities, corporations, churches, and local governments in various states. The records also contain COBLSA news releases and bulletins, newsletters, funding proposals and annual fundraising solicitations, documentation regarding divestment actions, and papers regarding various sponsored networking tours to the southern states in the United States.

Of note are minutes of the January 17, 1978 meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Banking in South Africa (Rochester, New York).

Main correspondents include Prexy Nesbitt, Dumisani Kumalo, and Carole Collins of COBLSA, as well as George Houser and Richard Knight of ACOA. Main topics covered within the research files include the countries of Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, along with South African economy, labor, military, sanctions, and society.


  • Created: 1967-1995
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1979-1983
  • Other: Date acquired: 07/01/2000


Conditions Governing Access

The records of the Campaign to Oppose Bank Loans to South Africa are open and available for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright to these papers has not been assigned to the Amistad Research Center. It is the responsibility of an author to secure permission for publication from the holder of the copyright to any material contained in this collection.

Historical Note

The Campaign to Oppose Bank Loans to South Africa (COBLSA) was formed in 1977 as the Committee to Oppose Bank Loans to South Africa. The committee was initially organized and sponsored by the American Committee on Africa and the Clergy and Laity Concerned (CALC), but become an independent organization soon after. The formation of COBLSA reflected a new phase in the movement to support the efforts of grassroots, local, and national anti-apartheid groups in working to end all United States loans, direct or indirect, to South Africa. With this purpose in mind, the campaign work was initially directed by ACOA staff member and first national coordinator of COBLSA, Prexy Nesbitt, and CALC member Gene Jones, and involved over 48 cooperating organizations, including churches, unions, university and colleges, and community groups.

Since 1977, COBLSA's campaign activities included conferences and tours, production of resources for affiliates and organizers, and research on United States financial links to South Africa. The campaign addressed local issues such as legislature actions against tax moneys being put by cities or states in banks that lend to South Africa; convincing anti-nuclear groups to divest and oppose bank loans to South Africa; teaching local groups how to research and present alternative investments and banking options; and providing better opportunities to increase outreach with their communities, including media work. These efforts were built on the pioneering divestment work by United States churches in the mid-1960s.

By 1979, Dumisani Kumalo became the second national coordinator of COBLSA. That same year, COBLSA became an independent organization and moved from its original office and sponsors in New York to Washington, D.C. Although, most of the member organizations of COBLSA were local groups based in one city or state, one of these affiliates was the District of Columbia (D.C.) Bank Campaign, which covered a coalition of organizations and individuals who worked to change the repressive apartheid system abroad. Launched in June 1979, the campaign focused on changing the operations of local banks which financed loans for the repressive governments in Chile and South Africa. Other political demands from the campaign members included efforts to end red-lining and mortgage loan discrimination in the District of Columbia.

Additionally, the D.C. Bank Campaign targeted Riggs National Bank because of its involvement with financing loans to South Africa and Chile and its poor record of services and loans to the D.C. community. The Riggs National Bank project involves the challenge to Riggs Bank over its international and domestic lending practices. As an initiative of the District of Columbia Bank Campaign, the Riggs National Bank project focused on ending all of the bank loans, investments, and credits until apartheid was abolished and full political, economic, and social rights were established for all people of South Africa. Chile also became a target for the campaign.

In May 1981, Carole J.L. Collins became the national coordinator of COBLSA and continued the campaign efforts of COBLSA. By 1983, COBLSA's affiliates and national staff had conducted bank campaign activities, which contributed to over $325 million of deposit withdrawals from Canadian and United States banks that had continued lending to South Africa.


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Physical Access Requirements

Some items are water damaged and may be restricted for research use. Please contact the reference services department at (504) 862-3222 for more information.

Custodial History

The Campaign to Oppose Bank Loans to South Africa were received with The Africa Fund records.

Source of Acquisition

Carole Collins

Method of Acquisition


Related Materials

The Campaign to Oppose Bank Loans to South Africa are closely related to the records of the American Committee on Africa (ACOA) and The Africa Fund held at the Amistad Research Center.

Processing Information

The records of the Campaign to Oppose Bank Loans to South Africa (COBLSA) were archivally processed from September 2014 to February 2015. Funding support for the project was received from the Council of Library and Information Resources (CLIR) in 20011.

Campaign to Oppose Bank Loans to South Africa (COBLSA) records
Felicia D. Render
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Repository Details

Part of the Amistad Research Center Repository

6823 Saint Charles Avenue
Tilton Hall, Tulane University
New Orleans LA 70118 US
(504) 862-3222