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Children of the Liberation

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

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Edited By Marion Kraft

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.
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Re-presentations and Re-definitions: Black People in Germany in the Past and Present (Marion Kraft)

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MARION KRAFT

Re-presentations and Re-definitions: Black People in Germany in the Past and Present1

Like the dead-seeming cold rocks, I have memories within that came out of the material that went to make me. Time and place have had their say. So you will have to know something about the time and place where I came from, in order that you may interpret the incidents and directions of my life.

— ZORA NEALE HURSTON (Dust Tracks on a Road, 1942)

This essay explores the roots of racism and brings the unique experiences of Black Germans of the post-World War II generation in line with the general history and present situation of Black People in Germany as part of the African diaspora.2 The presence of people of African descent in Germany has been multifarious and can be traced back to the early Middle Ages and beyond.3 Today, a growing number of Africans and people of African descent live in Germany. Black Germans, many of whom are of African American, Caribbean or African and white German descent, still figure as the “other”, as strangers in their homeland. Their struggle against racism and their struggle for identity and for recognition by Germany’s white mainstream are not only a matter of self-determination but also raise ← 11 | 12 → serious questions about the formation of identity in a multicultural and multi-ethnic society.

Current estimates4 of the number of Black Germans living in Germany...

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