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12/09/13- Roland Martin talks with Caroline Hunter, a former chemist who worked for the Polaroid Corporation back in the 1970s, who played a huge part in the divestment movement in South Africa.

Hunter and her fellow colleagues established the Polaroid Workers Revolutionary Movement to shed light on the company’s involvement in South Africa’s apartheid. At that time, Polaroid was responsible for creating passbooks, a form of identification that black South Africans were forced to carry around to prove their citizenship and if unable, they were arrested.

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2 thoughts on “What Role Did Polaroid Have in Apartheid in South Africa? Find Out Inside!

  1. Milt Dentch on said:

    I worked at Polaroid during the time Ms. Hunter described in her interview. While I agree her group’s role was key to initially causing Polaroid to move out of South Africa, there were some additional details important in Polaroid’s history. Dr. Land was very upset when he was made aware of the use of Polaroid film in SA to control the movement of Blacks and Coloreds. He sent a team of Black hourly and salary workers, along with a VP to South Africa for fact finding. When they returned he agreed to implement their proposals- mainly to stop sale of Polaroid Film in SA. Unfortunately as Ms Hunter related, due to some black market activities, the Polaroid film did not leave the country for some time. Polaroid made a very small per cent of sales in their entire history in SA. Dr. Land and Polaroid was a leader in the Boston area in Affirmative Action. After Martin Luther King’s death, he established a very successful training ground for black workers in Roxbury, MA- Inner City thrived for several decades until the bankruptcy of Polaroid in 2001. The goal was to train and bring unskilled Inner City workers into the high paying Polaroid plants throughout Massachusetts. It was a benchmark for other MA companies.
    I recently published a History of Polaroid, including a chapter on Polaroid and Inner City and the South African issue. Fall of an Icon- Polaroid after Edwin H. Land- an Insider’s View of the Once Great Company. It is on Amazon/ Kindle. Sent me your address and I’ll send you a copy. Miss you on MSNBC
    Dr. Land was a great man and humanitarian- Polaroid did great things for people,- I guarantee you thousands of black employees had a very rewarding career due the greatness of Dr. Land.
    Milt Dentch 12.09.13

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