Roland Martin Talks With Carol Hunter About Polaroid’s Role In Apartheid

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Man shows his passbook in 1960. (Photo: AP)

Man shows his passbook in 1960. (Photo: AP)

In the 1960s and 1970s, there was a huge movement for companies to disinvest from South Africa in order to protest apartheid. Caroline Hunter, who was a chemist for Polaroid in the ’70s, helped to establish the Polaroid Workers Revolutionary Movement to give more insight into the company’s work with apartheid.

Polaroid made passbooks, or IDs, for South Africans which they had to carry on them at all times in order to show they were citizens. If someone was found without it, they were arrested. Hunter was terminated from her job after establishing the group. Educating people on the injustices of apartheid then became her full-time task.

“We had to educate my family. We had to educate the world,” Hunter said. “When we discovered the treatment in Africa, we were horrified, and we started, as workers, saying we didn’t want our labor to contribute to extreme suffering of Black Africans in South Africa.

“Not too many people know,” she continued, “that 650 U.S. corporations were doing business in South Africa quite happily.”

Listen to her story below:

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