The story of Nelson Mandela's and the African National Congress' triumph over apartheid in South Africa is well known. All but forgotten are the African leaders who spoke against the system of white rule in its infancy. The founders of the ANC were members of the Natives Representative Council, a legislative adjunct of the South African Parliament elected by Africans between 1937 and 1950, when the Council was abolished. Their speeches during Council sessions document their eloquence and quiet dignity when facing their oppressors. Abbreviated versions of the speeches of the NRC are published here for the first time, along with discussion of the Council's elections, its members and the white government who used the NRC's rhetoric to its own ends.