After the 1952 Defiance Campaign, the African National Congress and the South African Indian Congress were joined by the (white) South African Congress of Democrats, the Coloured People's Congress and the South African Congress of Trade Unions, all under the banner of the Congress Alliance. Together they sent 50 000 volunteers all over the country to collect the demands, wishes and aspirations of ordinary South Africans as to what they wanted to see in a just and free society.
These wishes and aspirations formed the basis of the Freedom Charter, which was accepted at the Congress of the People on 26 June 1955 in Kliptown, Soweto. It was the biggest non-racial gathering ever held in South Africa. This was the first time that the shared democratic vision of so many diverse people was clearly expressed.