"I saw that it was not just my freedom that was curtailed, but the freedom of everyone who looked like I did. That is when I joined the African National Congress, and that is when the hunger for my own freedom became the greater hunger for the freedom of my people."
He was South Africa's first black president -- a position he achieved after a twenty-eight year imprisonment for his opposition to apartheid in South Africa. On December 5, 2013, Nelson Mandela passed away at the age of 95.
Born in 1918 in the Cape of Good Hope, Mandela was the son of Chief Henry Mandela of the Xhosa-speaking Tembu people. Renouncing his claim as his father's successor, Nelson Mandela chose instead to become a lawyer, attending the University College of Fort Hare and studying law at the University of Witwatersrand. In 1952, he joined with fellow lawyer Oliver Tambo to open their own law firm -- eight years after he became a member of the African National Congress (ANC), a black-liberation group.
He was arrested for his involvement with the ANC, and sentenced to life in prison -- a sentence that was overturned after nearly thirty years. In April 1994, four years after his release from prison, Nelson Mandela was elected president in South Africa's first all-race election. In a single term, he established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (which investigated the human rights violations that had occurred under apartheid), fought to improve living conditions for the country's black population, and oversaw the enactment of a new democratic constitution. Electing not to seek a second term as president, he retired from active politics in June 1999, after the completion of his single term. For the remainder of his life, he remained an activist and a source of inspiration for those fighting for equal rights.
Read on to find out more about the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela:
-- Nelson Mandela Death: World Mourns South Africa's First Black President - from CNN. Includes a slide show of mourners gathering to pay their respects around the world.
-- Nelson Mandela: 10 Surprising Facts You Probably Didn't Know - from CNN. Did you know scientists named a nuclear particle after him? Discover some little-known but fascinating facts about Mr. Mandela.
-- In Mandela's Own Words - from CNN. "No one is born hating another person." Eleven quotes that showcase Nelson Mandela's wisdom and understanding of our world.
-- A Collection of Reflections on Mandela's Life and Legacy - from NPR. See photos, listen to the audio from speeches, and read all about the life and legacy of South Africa's first black president.
-- The World Remembers Nelson Mandela - Read statements from political leaders around the world.
-- South Africa's National Liberation Movement - See their tribute to Nelson Mandela, including a biography, a collection of Mandela's articles and speeches, and messages of condolence from around the world. (You can also submit your own message.)
-- "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" - from IMDB. More about the newly-released film starring Idris Elba.
Click here to see President Obama speak in memory of Nelson Mandela.
From the Catalog:
- "Long Walk to Freedom" - Nelson Mandela's autobiography.
- "Conversations With Myself" - a collection of Mandela's personal papers.
- "In the Words of Nelson Mandela" - compiled and edited by Jennifer Crwys-Williams.
-- "The Color of Freedom" [DVD] - starring Dennis Haysbert.
-- "Endgame" [DVD] - with Clarke Peters.
-- "Invictus" [DVD] - starring Morgan Freeman.
-- "Winnie Mandela" [DVD] - starring Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard.
-- Post by Ms. B