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     On This Day: Nelson Mandela Is Released From Prison after 27 Years

February 11, 2016
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TODAY in HISTORY: February 11, 1990

On this day in 1990, citizens all over South Africa celebrated the release of apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, after serving 27 years in prison.

 

In 1944, Mandela, a lawyer, joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944 (the oldest black political organization in South Africa), and became a leader of the Johannesburg’s youth wing of the ANC, advocating nonviolent resistance to apartheid–South Africa’s institutionalized system of white supremacy and racial segregation.

 

Convicted and sentenced to five years at Robben Island Prison, he was put on trial again in 1964 on charges of sabotage. In June 1964, he was convicted along with several other ANC leaders and sentenced to life in prison.

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