Blacks in Africa and U.S. start mutual-aid summit 1,000 delegates looking for ways to help blacks.

April 17, 1991|By Knight-Ridder

WASHINGTON -- Three hundred black American political and business leaders were to begin meeting today with African heads of state in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to develop a strategy for helping blacks in Africa and the United States.

Responding to a challenge from the Rev. Leon H. Sullivan, who helped raise American sensitivity to apartheid in South Africa, 1,000 delegates -- including 30 heads of state or foreign ministers -- will try to craft a pragmatic approach to bring Africa the technical, economic and educational assistance it will need to thrive in the 21st century.

The "First African/African-American Summit" is designed to forge economic and political links between the two groups to each group's mutual benefit, Sullivan said in a recent interview.

"I call it the building of a bridge from America for the future of Africa," said Sullivan, who retired as a pastor in 1988 to create the International Foundation for Education and Self Help in Phoenix.

At the summit's end, a declaration of principles that will serve as a blueprint for action is to be issued. In the 1970s, Sullivan devised a similar document, known as the Sullivan Principles, that U.S. companies used as a guide to end their investments in apartheid South Africa.

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