Stevie Wonder was arrested today (February 23, 1985), for demonstrating against the South African embassy in Washington D.C.
Stevie Wonder and others were protesting the South African embassy, over their policies towards apartheid in South Africa.
Stevie Wonder and an aid attempted to enter the embassy, but were refused entry.
They returned to the sidewalk and began singing “We Shall Overcome,” as police began arresting the protesters.
Stevie Wonder labeled the policies of apartheid “barbaric” and vowed to maintain his stance.
That same year, Stevie Wonder released his album In A Square Circle which featured the song “It’s Wrong (Apartheid).”
“I wanted to speak out, and do it in a way where people will feel the rhythm of it, but also get the message across, and a peaceful way that’s also strong,” Stevie Wonder told the New York Times in an interview in 1985.
Later that year, when Stevie Wonder song “I Just Called To Say I Love You,” won an Academy award, he accepted the honor in Nelson Mandela’s name.
Nelson Mandela was eventually freed from prison after 27 years in prison in 1990, while the system of Apartheid was dismantled in 1994.