(CBS) – Nelson Mandela, whose death at age 95 was announced today, created quite a stir when he visited Chicago back in 1993.
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker takes a look back at Mandela’s historic visit.
Harold Rogers was the man behind the most important trip Nelson Mandela ever made to the U.S. The purpose of the visit two decades ago was to raise money for the elections.
It was two years after Mandela’s release from prison, and a year before his historic victory as South Africa’s President.
From Midway, Mandela was here for three days and attended six different events. He met with national, state and city leaders and received several gifts from then-Mayor Richard Daley.
He presented Mandela with a Bulls cap and jacket.
“I think Mayor Daley was in awe, I think, and he was very supportive,” Rogers says.
Also supportive was Chicago’s business community, which forked over $85,000 a plate to have breakfast with the future leader of South Africa.
“You had people like Sara Lee, Coca-Cola, Boeing,” Rogers said.
Everyday Chicagoans also turned out to see Mandela at Rainbow PUSH.
“The people were all in the street because they couldn’t get inside of the place,” Rogers says.
There were also crowds at Plumber’s Hall, where Mandela thanked the unions for their years of support in the Anti-Apartheid movement.
“The reception was tremendously overwhelming,” Rogers says. “People just wanted to see him because one has to remember that no one knew what he looked like. He was in jail for 27 years, and it was against the law in South Africa to publish his picture.”
A grateful Mandela left Chicago with $6.5 million in his campaign coffers.