This day in history

November 12,1930

POLITICAL activist and civil rights campaigner Molly Blackburn, widely respected by blacks, was born in Port Elizabeth.

In 1981 she started her political career by winning the provincial council seat of Walmer, Port Elizabeth, for the Progressive Federal Party (PFP). A year later, she became involved in the advice office of the Black Sash, where she learned more about the problems that faced South Africa.

The government regarded her as a troublemaker over her constant questioning of police actions and the dealings of the Development Board in the upliftment of black areas in the Port Elizabeth region. Her unselfish life of service to black communities came to an abrupt end on December 28, 1985, when a car that was driven by the husband of her close friend, Di Bishop, collided with another car.

Blackburn, Brian Bishop and the driver of the other car were killed. Her death stunned people from all races and her funeral was attended by a large group of people, estimated at about 20 000. —