Children of the Liberation

Transatlantic Experiences and Perspectives of Black Germans of the Post-War Generation

by Marion Kraft (Volume editor)
©2020 Edited Collection XXIV, 416 Pages
Series: Transnational Cultures, Volume 2


This volume was originally published in German in 2015, commemorating the end of World War II seventy years earlier and acknowledging the contribution of African American soldiers to Germany’s liberation from fascist rule. Using an interdisciplinary approach, it collects the voices of some of the descendants of these World War II heroes. In this volume, Black Germans of this post-war generation relate and analyse their experiences from various perspectives. Historical, political and research essays alongside life writing, interviews and literary texts form a kaleidoscope through which a new perspective on an almost forgotten part of German history and US American–German relationships is conveyed. The collection explores causes and consequences of racism in the past and in the present as well as developing strategies for achieving positive changes.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Illustrations
  • Preface to the English Edition
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction (Marion Kraft)
  • Part I: Black People in Germany
  • Re-presentations and Re-definitions: Black People in Germany in the Past and Present (Marion Kraft)
  • Part II: Life Writing: Witnessed History
  • Else Lindenbeck and Leslie Littles: An African American-German Family History (Lita Littles Wimbley)
  • A Long Journey Home: From a German Orphanage to the Black Bourgeoisie – and Back (Ruth E. Spencer)
  • Unexpected Encounters with the Past (Roy Merz)
  • Which Figure Does Not Belong? About the Impossibility of Belonging (Thomas Usleber)
  • Ways Out of Isolation (Ria Cheatom)
  • Black Police Officer and Activist (Mike Reichel)
  • One Family, Two Continents (Jasmin Eding)
  • Crossing Borders, Overcoming Boundaries (Ika Hügel-Marshall)
  • Bridges (Helga Emde)
  • Germany: A Springtime Tale (Eleonore Wiedenroth-Coulibaly)
  • Part III: Change of Perspective
  • “Because We’re Embarrassed”: Memory, Post-memory and Reflections on “Race” and Rejection (Tracey O. Patton)
  • Stories Matter: Experiences of Black German Adoptees in the U.S. (Rosemarie Peña)
  • Searching for Traces: Discontinuity and Identity in African American-German Autobiographies (Marion Kraft)
  • Black Germans: Social Realities and Problems of a Neglected Minority (Bärbel Kampmann)
  • Inclusion: Different Perspectives on a Principle of Human Rights (Judy Gummich)
  • African Diaspora: Critical Reflections on a Concept (Marion Kraft)
  • Part IV: Remembrance of Changes and Breakthroughs
  • ADEFRA: How It All Began – a Conversation with Ria Cheatom, Jasmin Eding and Judy Gummich (Ika Hügel-Marshall)
  • From Champion Boxer and Prison Inmate to Social Worker: A Conversation with Charly Graf (Marion Kraft)
  • Part V: The Power of Language: Poems
  • Changes (Helga Emde)
  • The Ballad of Mr. Sample (Thomas Usleber)
  • The Silence (Thomas Usleber)
  • The Power of Words – Empowerment (Eleonore Wiedenroth-Coulibaly)
  • Distant Connections (May Ayim)
  • A Litany for Survival (Audre Lorde)
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Appendix: Permissions
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index
  • Series index

← xiv | xv →


← xviii | xix →

Preface to the English Edition

In 2015, seven decades after the end of Hitler fascist reign, many organizations and publications in Germany commemorated the end of World War II. Only very few mentioned the contributions made by Black soldiers, in particular African Americans, to the defeat of the Nazi regime. Remarkably, however, there emerged a new interest in the histories and stories of Black “occupation children” born in post-war Germany. This increasing interest gave rise to several publications by white German authors and researchers. Black Germans of the post-war generation were generally depicted as outcasts, social problems or victims and corroboratory material was collected to support such views. With the original German publication of Children of the Liberation, my co-authors and I wanted to set the record straight and add a new dimension to this discourse. We aimed to outline the extensive history of racism in Germany and the long presence of Black people in this country and to write a different narrative in our own voices, whereby, through different approaches and authentic life stories of survival and success against all odds, the “danger of a single story” (Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie) would be counteracted. At a meeting with Black German friends, activists and writers, among them author Ika Hügel-Marshall and co-founder of ADREFA [Afro-German Women] Ria Cheatom, we decided on a project that would give different men and women of the Black German post-war generation a space where they could make their own voices heard.


XXIV, 416
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2020 (January)
Historical and Present Aspects of Black Life in Germany Life Writing/Witnessed History Memory and Post-Memory Reflections on “Race” and Rejections Black German Adoptees in the U.S. Identity in African American-German Biographies Social Realities of Black Germans Inclusion and Human Rights African Diaspora Black German Movements
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Wien, 2020. XXIV, 416 pp., 64 fig. b/w

Biographical notes

Marion Kraft (Volume editor)

Marion Kraft is an African American–German scholar, retired college and university teacher, lecturer, author, editor and translator. She studied German and American literatures at the universities of Cologne and Frankfurt/Main (Germany) and at the Ohio State University (US) and holds a doctorate of philosophy from the University of Osnabrück (Germany). She has published numerous essays on racism, literature, feminism and the Black movement in Germany and has five books to her credit.


Title: Children of the Liberation
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442 pages