M. William “Bill” Howard

Jennifer Davis inherited the mantle of leadership at the American Committee on Africa as the struggle against apartheid in South Africa was reaching a crescendo–when some people were seemly discovering for the first time the urgency of toppling the brutal system she had known from birth. By the early 1980s, South Africa was becoming a cause célèbre, and there was quite a cast of characters, eager to get “in on the action”, to be at the front of the march

Then there was Jennifer leading, not by clamoring but by listening, corralling talent, offering quiet direction; trying hard to nurture coalitions and to help keep our eyes on a cruel system that was an unspeakable scourge.

By her gentle and persistent style, Jennifer proved, once again, that leadership is about mobilizing people to make change; that persistence, strategy and solid information are the best tools for this work, not fanfare.

I will always remember her quiet demeanor, her smile, her collegial approach to the work. And I will remember her as a gentle giant in the long march toward freedom, not only in South Africa but on the planet earth. The march continues.

M. William “Bill” Howard, Jr.
Chair of the Board, ACOA, 1987-1994

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