In 1970, Black employees at Polaroid discovered their employer’s equipment was being sold to the South African government to create ID cards and passbooks under the apartheid system and organized as the Polaroid Revolutionary Workers Movement. In this presentation, educator and activist Caroline Hunter recounts her experiences as a co-organizer of a grassroots boycott that forced the Polaroid Corporation to withdraw from South Africa.

Caroline Hunter hails from New Orleans. She graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana with a BS in chemistry; she holds a master’s degree in education from Antioch College and Harvard Graduate School of Education. Hunter is a retired educator, having served 34 years in the Cambridge Public Schools District. Her career spanned from high school teacher to administrator. In the 1970s while she was working as a research scientist, Hunter co-founded the Polaroid Revolutionary Workers Movement and co-organized a grassroots boycott against Polaroid Corporation for its involvement in apartheid in South Africa. Hunter has been recognized for her anti-apartheid work; her honors include the National Education Association’s Rosa Parks Memorial Award. When not traveling for speaking engagements, she spends time between Cambridge and Martha’s Vineyard.

Drew Thompson is associate professor of Black studies and visual culture at Bard Graduate Center, where he researches and teaches in the areas of African and Black diaspora visual and material culture. Curating exhibitions is a fundamental part of his teaching and scholarship. He recently co-curated Benjamin Wigfall and Communications Village, the first posthumous survey of the Black American artist Benjamin Wigfall, which opened in September 2022 at the Dorsky Museum before traveling to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. He is also at work on an exhibition about African metalwork that will open at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery in fall 2023. He authored Filtering Histories: The Photographic Bureaucracy in Mozambique, 1960 to Recent Times (University of Michigan Press, 2021) and numerous publications about the history of photography and contemporary art in southern Africa.


Assistive listening devices are available. American Sign Language interpretation and/or CART Captioning are available upon request (email [email protected]). Learn more about visiting BGC here.

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