June 16th in African American History – The Soweto Children’s Uprising

The Soweto Children’s UprisingJune 16, 1976 The Soweto Children’s Uprising started in South Africa.

On that day school children in Soweto protested the imposition of the Afrikanns language for instruction. Before they could disperse, police opened fire on the students. Before it was over, 23 people died. A news photograph of a dying Hector Pieterson, killed at the age of 12, was published around the world and became the iconic image of the uprising.

Today, June 16 is known as National Youth Day, a day on which South Africans honor young people and bring attention to their needs. On June 16, 2002 the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum was opened near the place where he was shot.


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