Nelson Mandela

President Richard Nixon greeting Robert and his late wife Sallie Brown in the White House
Robert Brown

In the 1960s, High Point resident Robert Brown worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr. as a fundraiser. Brown has also advised several prominent American politicians, including Senators John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, and Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

James Joseph grew up in the heart of Klan country in Louisiana.

He vowed to one day earn the respect of the racist leaders. Years later, he became the first ambassador to South Africa to present his credentials to Nelson Mandela. Host Frank Stasio talks to James Joseph, professor emeritus of the practice of public policy at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

Mandela, Mary and james Joseph shaking hands
Joseph family archives

Nelson Mandela was a global icon who had an incredible humility. And one of the interesting things I remember about my experience is that when I presented my credentials to Mandela, as the U.S. Ambassador, he invited my wife and I to have tea with him afterwards. And we were sitting there, both of us thinking, ‘How do we approach asking Mr. Mandela to take a picture with us?’

6th April 2000 Visit of Nelson Mandela to give a lecture at LSE on 'Africa and Its Position in the World.' Held at the Peacock Theatre.
Wikipedia Creative Commons / Library of the London School of Economics and Political Science

Celebrations will commemorate the life of Nelson Mandela this weekend across the Piedmont. The former South African President died last week at the age of 95.

Deborah Blackman is President of the South African Tarheels, one of the groups coordinating the memorials.  She says the respect Mandela earned as a prisoner and as a political leader still resonates across the world.

Audrey Brown with headset

"This is amazing," Audrey Brown thought. She was on a boat, speeding to Robben Island, the prison that had held South Africa's most famous political prisoner for more than twenty-five years. And the man himself, Nelson Mandela, was sitting a few feet away. Though he was South Africa's President at the time, his thoughts were personal. He talked about the first time he arrived by boat to the prison. The water that day was choppy he said. He knew that day that he would not be released for years, if ever.

Franklin Graham
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Franklin Graham is joining many well known North Carolinians in expressing his condolences on the passing of Nelson Mandela. The Christian evangelist and son of Billy Graham spoke with WUNC News Friday.  The younger Graham said he will remember Mandela as a freedom fighter, and man of forgiveness. "The South African regime under Apartheid was afraid of him." says Franklin Graham.  "But they didn’t need to be afraid of him. Because when he came out of prison he never, never tried to be vindictive. He never tried to go back and get even. Nelson Mandela looked forward looked forward not backward.

James Joseph
Duke University

North Carolinians are joining leaders around the world in remembering Nelson Mandela's legacy. The former South African president died Thursday in Johannesburg. He was 95. Those who watched Mandela emerge from decades of captivity to national leader say he brought a charm  not found in most political figures.

James Joseph is professor emeritus at Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy. He served as U.S. ambassador to South Africa during much of Mandela's presidency.

Phive is a band based in Greensboro.
Phive, Facebook

Greensboro band Phive has released a new single dedicated to Nelson Mandela. They made the announcement yesterday on Mandela Day, the birthday of the South African leader. Phive spoke with PRI's the World from WUNC's studios in Durham. You can listen to the interview here.

Here's the music video of their new song, "Madiba."

When law professor Kenneth Broun began learning about the 1963 trial of Nelson Mandela, he was startled to discover the South African leader was expected to be put to death. Mandela spent 27 years in prison, but he eventually got out and became president.