May 1972 For six days, 34 Black members of the Pan-African Liberation Movement stage a takeover of Mass. Hall. The movement became the starting point for what would later become the divestment movement.

May 1977 Several groups begin requesting that the University take a firm stand against the white-minority regimes of South Africa. One hundred students protest a conference sponsored by the DuBois institute and the Committee on African Studies, accusing the attendees with seeking to protect American business interests in South Africa.

October 1977 More than 2,000 students, led by the Black Students Association and the South African Solidarity Committee (SASC), blockade University Hall to protest the University's policy on South Africa.

February 1978 Harvard officials respond to demonstrations by banning future investments in banks that make loans to the South African government or to state-owned corporations.

January 1982 The Corporation asks members of the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR) to consider supporting the elimination of the ban on certain investments.


March 1984 The ACSR recommends that Harvard unconditionally divest itself of holdings in companies doing business with South Africa.

April 1985 A Yard rally for divestment, featuring the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, attracts 5,000 students.

1985 Alumni organize the Harvard/Radcliffe Alumni Against Apartheid (HRAAA). In June, Gay W. Seidman '76, an HRAAA-endorsed candidate, is elected to the Board of Overseers.

July 1985 In a letter to then-Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) and then-Senate Minority Leader Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.), Harvard President Derek C. Bok urges that the United States place sanctions on South Africa for refusing to dismantle apartheid.

April 1986 More than 200 divestment activists erect a shantytown and a symbolic 16-foot ivory tower in the Yard to protest Harvard's investment in companies related to South Africa.

January 1986 South African Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu publicly endorses three pro-divestment candidates for the Board of Overseers.

Overseers President Joan T. Bok '51 responds in a letter to alumni, cautioning them against voting for candidates based on a single issue.

June 1987 Consuela M. Washington and Peter H. Wood '64, two HRAAA candidates, are elected to the Board of Overseers.

May 1988 Tutu tells the Boston Globe that if Harvard fails to divest itself of investments related to South Africa, he will return the honorary degree Harvard awarded him in 1979.

September 1988 A controversial report, commissioned by the Board of Overseers, recommends that the administration exert more control over who is elected to the Board. The proposal is seen by many critics as a heavy-handed attempt to keep dissenting voices out of the inner circles of Harvard decision-making.