As the world mourns the loss of one of its most profound civil rights leaders, Nelson Mandela, Eye Opener celebrates his legacy with Dr. Keith Green, a professor of African American Literature at Rutgers University Camden. Mandela’s impact was felt around the world and even her in Philadelphia. Former governor Ed Rendell called the late statesman a “modern Abraham Lincoln” for his work ending apartheid and promoting equality for all South Africans, which extended far beyond his nation.
Some of Mandela’s accomplishments were celebrated right here in Philadelphia. Less than three years after his release from prison, he visited the steps of Independence Hall where he and then South African president F.W. de Klerk were presented with the Philadelphia Liberty Medal by then U.S. president Bill Clinton.
Professor Green recalls seeing Mandela in New York just months after the activist had spent 27 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
“We were among thousands of people, and he was saying ‘amandla’ which means power and we were responding ‘awethu’ which means to us. So ‘power to the people.’ And I always remember that memory from 13, 14 years old.”
Check out Jen’s full interview with Dr. Green as they remember one of the most influential figures in World History.