FounderRandall Robinson
Typehuman rights education and advocacy agency
Working in Africa and Africa Diaspora countries, 13 active campaigns.
Board of Directors, staff, members
Nicole Lee, Director
Board of Directors, Danny Glover (Chair)

TransAfrica (formerly TransAfrica Forum) is an advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. that seeks to influence the foreign policy of the United States concerning African and Caribbean countries and all African diaspora groups. They are a research, education, and advocacy center for activism focusing on social, economic and political conditions in Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America and other parts of the African Diaspora. They are the largest and oldest social justice organization in the United States that focuses on the African world. They have served as a major research, educational, and organizing institution for the African and African Descendant communities and the U.S. public in general.[1]


TransAfrica Forum is a research, education, and advocacy center dedicated to global justice for the African World.[2]

According to TransAfrica, it envisions a world where Africans and people of African descent are self-reliant, socially and economically prosperous, and have equal access to a more just international system that strengthens independence and democracy.[3]

TransAfrica is an educational and organizing center that encourages human interest viewpoints in the U.S. foreign policy arena and advocates for justice for the people of Africa and the African Diaspora. TransAfrica creates solidarity between Americans and communities most affected by U.S. policies throughout the world. TransAfrica supports human rights, gender equity, democracy, and sustainable economic and environmental development.[4]

TransAfrica advocates for more just foreign policy through the engagement of African Americans and policymakers.[citation needed]

By connecting people and policymakers to those most affected by U.S. foreign policy, and by encouraging Afro-descendants to be civically active, TransAfrica works to create a more just foreign policy that reflects the values of African Americans, especially respect for human rights.[citation needed]


The Black Forum on Foreign Affairs was formed in 1975, and served as the precursor to TransAfrica.[5] TransAfrica Forum was founded on July 1, 1977, after being conceived a year earlier at a Black Leadership Conference convened by the Congressional Black Caucus in September, 1976.[6][7] A committee consisting of Randall Robinson, Herschelle Challenor, and Willard Johnson are credited for formulating an organizational design and launch. Robinson became the organization's first Director. It began to launch a series of legislative campaigns, strategic media outreach and activism that increase public awareness of apartheid in South Africa and made a contribution to the global anti-apartheid solidarity movement.[8] It is credited for its role in the anti-apartheid struggle through its activism.[7] Through the Free South Africa Movement, they initiated a letter-writing campaigns, hunger strikes, and protest marches to protest against apartheid and to compel the U.S. government to act against apartheid.

Arthur R. Ashe Foreign Policy Library

Named after former board member Arthur Ashe, the Arthur R. Ashe Foreign Policy Library is the only library in the U.S. dedicated to sensitizing Americans about African, Caribbean, and Latin-American issues. It is an important resource for policy analysts, scholars and the public.[9]

Advocacy and education work

TransAfrica continues to work on similar social, political, and economic justice issues throughout the African world. The current priority areas in Africa include Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, South Africa and Uganda. In the Americas, this includes Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela and the United States.[10]

Advocacy and education events

TransAfrica continues to sponsor public seminars, community awareness campaigns and training programs to sensitize the public and policy makers. This includes the Cabral/Truth Circles, film series, lecture series, book club and a writer's forum for authors to discuss their work.[11] They co-sponsor the annual New African Film Festival in Washington, D.C.[11]

Free South Africa Movement

TransAfrica was a founding member of the Free South Africa Movement. It is a grassroots organization that laid the foundation for the taking the anti-apartheid movement in the U.S. to mainstream politics and lobbying for change.[12] They were at the forefront of the sensitizing U.S. policy makers, students and the public about the anti-apartheid efforts in a strategic move. On November 21, 1984, a day before Thanksgiving, Randall Robinson, Congressman Walter Fauntroy and Mary Frances Berry were arrested for a sit-in staged at the South African embassy.[13] This brought the Anti-South African movements to the national stage. It sparked the formation of the Free South Africa Movement in the U.S. which TransAfrica was a founding member of. Within a few days, there were more sit-ins and demonstrations against South Africa were held nationally.[13] More than 3,000 people were arrested by 1985. TransAfrica exposed the secret strategy meetings between the South African government and the Ronald Reagan administration.[12] TransAfrica worked with the Congressional Black Caucus in formulating legislative strategy for the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986.[13] In May 2012, the organisation received the Mandela Freedom Statuette for "exceptional contribution to the struggle for the attainment for non-racial, free and democratic South Africa" from the South Africa government.[14]

Organization and structure

TransAfrica is run by a board of directors, administered by staff and supported by members. The current chairman of the board is Danny Glover. Past board members have included activists Arthur Ashe, Chuck D and Harry Belafonte.[15] The former Director is Nicole Lee.[16][15] Past Directors have included Bill Fletcher Jr.[17]

See also


  1. ^ "Power Source: Celebrating The Pursuit of Justice – Washington Life Magazine". Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  2. ^ Zulu, Itibari M. (2015-12-01). "TransAfrica as a collective enterprise: exploring leadership and social justice attentiveness". Journal of Pan African Studies. 8 (9): 26–47.
  3. ^ "TransAfrica Forum". Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  4. ^ "African Activist Archive". Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  5. ^ Historical Dictionary of United States-Africa Relations By Robert Anthony Waters Jr., Scarecrow Press
  6. ^ "TransAfrica – Justice for the African World – HISTORY". Archived from the original on 6 February 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  7. ^ a b Cho, Nancy. "TransAfrica Forum (1977– )". Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  8. ^ William Minter, Gail Hovey, No Easy Victories: African Liberation and American Activists Over a Half-Century 1950–2000, 2008, p. 160.
  9. ^ "TransAfrica – Justice for the African World – ASHE FOREIGN POLICY LIBRARY". Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  10. ^ "TransAfrica – Justice for the African World – WHERE". Archived from the original on 6 February 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Events". TransAfrica. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Progressive Business Blog in Chicago and NYC". Retrieved 21 September 2015.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ a b c "African Activist Archive". African Activist Archive. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  14. ^ "TransAfrica - Justice for the African World - AFRICA: SOUTH AFRICA". Archived from the original on 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  15. ^ a b "UB Today". Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  16. ^ "TransAfrica - Justice for the African World - STAFF". Archived from the original on 2013-07-05. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  17. ^ "Bill Fletcher Jr". Retrieved 21 September 2015.