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Invisible Woman

Growing Up Black in Germany

Series:

Ika Hügel-Marshall

Invisible Woman: Growing Up Black in Germany, republished in a new annotated edition, recounts Ika Hügel-Marshall’s experiences growing up as the daughter of a white German woman and an African-American man after World War II. As an «occupation baby», born in a small German town in 1947, Ika has a double stigma: Not only has she been born out of wedlock, but she is also Black. Although loved by her mother, Ika’s experiences with German society’s reaction to her skin color resonate with the insidiousness of racism, thus instilling in her a longing to meet her biological father. When she is seven, the state places her into a church-affiliated orphanage far away from where her mother, sister, and stepfather live. She is exposed to the scorn and cruelty of the nuns entrusted with her care. Despite the institutionalized racism, Ika overcomes these hurdles, and finally, when she is in her forties, she locates her father with the help of a good friend and discovers that she has a loving family in Chicago.