The Harlem audience was determined to cheer everything Nelson Mandela said, which meant that ABC Nightline anchor Ted Koppel had to accept that he was at a disadvantage—what he called “a hometown crowd.”

It was 1990, and black America had been in the throes of Republican leadership for a decade. The Cold War had not begun to cool. Mandela—viewed then as a revolutionary leader of the African National Congress trying to destroy the white-minority racist apartheid regime of South Africa, not the cuddly teddy bear of reconciliation of a democratic one-party state that would define him later—had been recently freed thanks to a worldwide movement on his behalf. A critic in the crowd asked tough questions about Mandela’s support of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and Cuban leader Fidel Castro. ( – Todd Steven Burroughs) Click here to read the complete story!

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