) South African activist
while in police
custody made him a symbol of the struggle for civil rights
in that country.
Biko's activism went back to his high school days, when he was expelled for his political activities. While in college he co-founded the all-black South African Students' Organization, a group dedicated to raising black consciousness and throwing off the psychological oppression of blacks by whites. The movement quickly spread from the campus to the streets.
The government responded by issuing orders that strictly limited their activities and movements, so they carried out much of their work in secret from then on. The Zimele Trust Fund, which Biko established in 1975, aided political prisoners and their families.
During this period Biko was arrested and jailed without trial several times. His arrest in 1977 would be the last. He was held, naked and in chains, for 24 days before he was discovered unconscious from brain lesions caused by blows to his head.
A report declared the police innocent of any wrongdoing.