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Series I: Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Southern Africa Project,, 1969-2006
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in three series.
The Gay J. McDougall Papers document the South African anti-apartheid movement in the 1960s through the 1990s. The records primarily include correspondence, writings and speeches, administrative records, court documents and case files, and newspaper clippings related to human rights, anti-apartheid activism, political prisoners, the 1989 Namibian election and the 1994 South African election. The collection documents the work of McDougall, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Southern Africa Project, a non-governmental organization (NGO) and the Commission for Independence in Namibia.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
Some files containing personally identifiable information are restricted. See the finding aid for more information.
Box 24 is missing.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Gay J. McDougall Papers; Box and Folder; Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Accruals are expected
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed Susan M. Kline 2013-2014.
Finding Aid written by Susan M. Kline 2014.
Collection is processed to folder level.
2014-09-17 xml document instance created by Susan M. Kline.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical Note and History
Born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1947, Gay J. McDougall is a lawyer and activist who worked to end apartheid in both South Africa and Namibia.
McDougall graduated from the Yale Law School and worked in private practice at a corporate law firm in New York City before becoming the director of the Southern Africa Project at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in 1980. At the Lawyers Committee, McDougall, working with lawyers and activists from around the world, oversaw a variety of campaigns to advance the cause of human rights.
Additionally, McDougall founded the Commission on Independence for Namibia in 1989; the group monitored the United Nations led elections in Namibia. Concerning itself with the fairness of the election, it successfully worked to change legislation related to election laws.
McDougall left the Lawyers Committee after she was appointed to serve as a member of the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa, based in Johannesburg. She was the only American member of the IEC, which oversaw and administered the 1994 election in South Africa, which led to the election of Nelson Mandela.
Following the 1994 election, McDougall remained active in the human rights movement. She served as the Executive Director of the NGO, Global Rights until 2006. The United Nations Human Rights Council appointed her their first Independent Expert on Minority issues, a role she held from 2005 to 2011. She received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1999. She has also served as a board member for Africare, CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere), and the Global Fund for Women.
The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization was established in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to promote justice through the law in response to the civil rights movement in the United States. The Southern African Project emerged in 1967 and continued until 1994.