Leon Sullivan

Madison Adams

One of the most important forces in the world is the power of thought. What we think, more than anything else, makes us what we are.

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Sullivan's Life

Leon Sullivan was born in Charlestown, West Virginia on October 16,1922, and died April 24, 2001 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Throughout his life, Sullivan was a preacher, a social activist, and an educator. His focus in life was on civil rights and promoting a nonviolent approach to changing society both socially and economically. In the US he worked to provide job opportunities for blacks by working with large corporations, if businesses did not agree to helping, boycotts were held. By founding the Opportunities Industrialization Center, he helped to provide employment training services to blacks. Sullivan's work towards ending apartheid began when he became the first black member on a board of a major corporation, in 1971 he joined the Board of Directors at General Motors.
Reverend Leon H Sullivan Once In A While

Sullivan's Anti-Apartheid Work

Sullivan used his position at General Motors to bring more focus to the issues with apartheid and help to create change. His beliefs in racial equality inspired him to develop a code of conduct for American businesses in South Africa, called the Sullivan Principles. These principles declared that there was to be no segregation in the work place, meaning factory floors, in company eating facilities, and bathrooms were to be shared among workers regardless of race. The principles stated that those doing the same jobs would receive equal pay and training would be provided for nonwhites so they would have opportunities to advance. Additionally, housing was to be improved, as well as schooling, and health facilities. The Sullivan Principles called attention to the inequality in the workplace and companies either left South Africa or were forced to address the problems.


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  • "Reverend Leon H Sullivan Once In A While." YouTube. YouTube, 11 Apr. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.
  • "Leon Sullivan." Leon Sullivan. Psu.edu. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.
  • "Rev Leon H Sullivan, Founder of OIC, Born of Humble Beginnings in an Unpainted Clapboard House on an Unpaved Alley in Charleston, West Virginia, on October 16, 1922,
  • Leon H." Rev Leon H Sullivan, Founder of OIC. OIC of South Florida. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. "Reverend Dr. Leon H. Sullivan, Founder." OIC of American. OIC of America. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.
  • "Sullivan, Leon Howard Jr. (1922-2001) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed." Sullivan, Leon Howard Jr. (1922-2001) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed. BlackPast.org. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.