International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

On this day in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people peacefully demonstrating against apartheid 'pass laws' in the township of Sharpeville, South Africa. The notorious passbooks were a repressive tool to control the movements of black South Africans. The United Nations General Assembly subsequently declared 21 March to be the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and called on the international community not only to commemorate that tragedy, but also to work together to combat racism and discrimination wherever they exist.