Being black in Nazi Germany

Posted in Articles, Arts, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2019-05-22 00:29Z by Steven

Being black in Nazi Germany

BBC News
2019-05-21

Damian Zane

A slide used on lectures on genetics at the State Academy for Race and Health in Dresden, Germany, 1936. Original caption: "Mulatte child of a German woman and a Negro of the French Rhineland garrison troops, among her German classmates
This photo was used in genetics lectures at Germany’s State Academy for Race and Health Library of Congress

Film director Amma Asante came across an old photograph taken in Nazi Germany of a black schoolgirl by chance.

Standing among her white classmates, who stare straight into the camera, she enigmatically glances to the side.

Curiosity about the photograph – who the girl was and what she was doing in Germany – set the award-winning film-maker off on a path that led to Where Hands Touch, a new movie starring Amandla Stenberg and George MacKay.

It is an imagined account of a mixed-race teenager’s clandestine relationship with a Hitler Youth member, but it is based on historical record…

Racist caricatures

The derogatory term “Rhineland bastards” was coined in the 1920s to refer to the 600-800 mixed-race children who were the result of those relationships.

Newspaper cutting in the Frankfurter Volksblatt says "600 Bastards Accused, the legacy of black crimes against the Rhinelanders"
The 1936 headline in the Frankfurter Volksblatt says: “600 Bastards Accused, the legacy of black crimes against the Rhinelanders” Robbie Aitken

The term spoke to some people’s imagined fears of an impure race. Made-up stories and racist caricatures of sexually predatory African soldiers were circulated at the time, fuelling concern…

Read the entire article here.

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The ‘Brown Babies’ who were left behind

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Social Work, United Kingdom, United States, Women on 2019-05-20 16:37Z by Steven

The ‘Brown Babies’ who were left behind

BBC News
2019-05-17

Charlie Jones

children in a children's home
Many of the babies were put in children’s homes, such as Holnicote House in Somerset
Leslie York

When Babs Gibson-Ward was born in 1944, her mother’s navy officer husband did not question whether he was her father.

“He honestly believed I was his child, I think because my complexion at that time was very fair. It took six months for it to change,” she said.

She was one of 2,000 mixed race babies born to white British women and black American GIs during World War Two.

The children were dubbed “Brown Babies” by the media and many had troubled childhoods.

When Mrs Gibson-Ward’s skin darkened, her mother’s lie was revealed – her real father was a black US Airforce engineer…

…”Many British people had never seen a black person before. They were charming and less arrogant than the white officers.

“They met women at dance halls or pubs, on evenings which were designated ‘blacks only’,” Lucy Bland, Professor of Social and Cultural History at Anglia Ruskin University, said.

But relationships were forbidden and their children were often kept secret. Most had never shared their stories until Prof Bland found 45 of them for her book, titled Britain’s Brown Babies

Read the entire article here.

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Obituary: Andrea Levy

Posted in Articles, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2019-02-15 16:29Z by Steven

Obituary: Andrea Levy

BBC News
2019-02-15

Andrea Levy

Andrea Levy, who has died of cancer at the age of 62, told the stories of the Windrush generation with humour and compassion.

As Britain struggled to revive its post-war economy, invitations were extended to citizens of the Empire. “Come and make your lives in the Mother Country,” the advertisements said.

Levy’s books chart the experiences – and disappointments – of the first Caribbean immigrants and their children.

Her Jamaican father, Winston, was aboard the Empire Windrush, the first ship to dock at Tilbury in 1948.

The open arms which the 492 men expected were not forthcoming. Racism and rejection, small rooms and chilly receptions awaited instead.

Her writing could have been angry and preachy, but it wasn’t. It was witty, humane and often moving, and full of richly drawn characters.

She brought ignored and forgotten stories back to public consciousness. And she drew on her own mixed-race, working class experience to enrich her themes of family and displacement…

Read the entire article here.

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Belize’s thriving Afro-Caribbean community

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2018-11-21 22:42Z by Steven

Belize’s thriving Afro-Caribbean community

BBC News
2018-11-19

Heide Brandes

When West Africans on their way to the New World’s slave markets escaped in 1635, they intermarried with Caribbean islanders to create a new and distinct culture.

The boats came at dawn along the shores of the town of Dangriga on the coast of Belize.

Onboard, vibrantly dressed men, women and children carried homemade flags and waved bright green fronds of coconut palm branches as they approached the shore. On land, a crowd waited, ready to cheer as feet stepped out of the boats to touch sand.

On a similar morning in 1832, the Garifuna people – descendants of Carib, Arawak and West African people – made the same journey from St Vincent Island in the Caribbean, finally able to call Belize home after being turned away by the British government three times. Every year on 19 November, the Garifuna celebrate Garifuna Settlement Day, marking their arrival in Belize (which was then a British colony) and their many contributions to the Belizean landscape.

With this re-enactment of the boat landing, as well as oral history intoned by village elders and music, dancing and food, the national holiday attracts visitors from throughout Belize and the world. It immerses them in why the culture is so unique – and why its people are fighting to keep their heritage alive in an increasingly modern world…

Read the entire article here.

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Hungary’s first black MP aims to ‘destroy prejudice’

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2018-06-11 15:18Z by Steven

Hungary’s first black MP aims to ‘destroy prejudice’

BBC News
2018-06-11

Tom Mulligan

Olivio Kocsis-Cake
Orsolya Kovacs
Olivio Kocsis-Cake: Fidesz always finds an enemy who must be hated

Hungary has a reputation for anti-immigration politics, but a young black liberal MP wants to revamp the country’s image.

Olivio Kocsis-Cake, of the opposition Parbeszed (Dialogue) party, is being sworn in as an MP on Monday, taking a seat vacated by a colleague who is stepping down.

Mr Kocsis-Cake (pronounced “kochish-tsocker”) has become a talking point in Hungary because of the strong anti-migrant rhetoric – particularly against non-whites – ratcheted up by members of the governing Fidesz party, its loyal national media and far-right groups like Jobbik.

“In the 1990s I was physically in danger a number of times when confronted by skinheads on the street. But now this is very unusual. Mostly I just get suspicious looks,” Mr Kocsis-Cake told independent news website Index.hu.

Parbeszed won just five seats in the 2018 election, in which the right-wing Fidesz of Prime Minister Viktor Orban secured a super-majority of 133 seats and the ultra-nationalist Jobbik came second with 26 seats…

Two different generations

Olivio Kocsis-Cake was born in 1980. His mother is Hungarian and his father, from Guinea-Bissau, came to Hungary via Senegal in 1976, aged 18.

Like many students invited to communist Eastern Europe from developing countries, Marcelo Cake-Baly studied and graduated at the Karl Marx Economics University. He settled and found work as a Budapest tram-driver and was even a one-time film actor…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Race Britain in The Twentieth Century

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2018-05-25 02:20Z by Steven

Mixed Race Britain in The Twentieth Century

Palgrave Macmilan
2018-05-23
552 pages
26 b/w illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-137-33927-0
eBook ISBN: 978-1-137-33928-7
DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-33928-7

Chamion Caballero, Visiting Senior Fellow
London School of Economics

Peter J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader
University of Kent, United Kingdom

  • Presents a comprehensive history of racial mixing in Britain during the twentieth century
  • Contrasts ‘ordinary’ voices sourced from archival material from across the twentieth century with official media and government accounts of racial mixing in Britain
  • Formed the foundations of the popular BBC Two television series Mixed Brittannia that explored the history of Britain’s mixed-race community

This book explores the overlooked history of racial mixing in Britain during the course of the twentieth century, a period in which there was considerable and influential public debate on the meanings and implications of intimately crossing racial boundaries.

Based on research that formed the foundations of the British television series Mixed Britannia, the authors draw on a range of firsthand accounts and archival material to compare ‘official’ accounts of racial mixing and mixedness with those told by mixed race people, couples and families themselves.

Mixed Race Britain in The Twentieth Century shows that alongside the more familiarly recognised experiences of social bigotry and racial prejudice there can also be glimpsed constant threads of tolerance, acceptance, inclusion and ‘ordinariness’. It presents a more complex and multifaceted history of mixed race Britain than is typically assumed, one that adds to the growing picture of the longstanding diversity and difference that is, and always has been, an ordinary and everyday feature of British life.

Table of contents

  • Introduction; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • ‘Disharmony of Physical, Mental and Temperamental Qualities’: Race Crossing, Miscegenation and the Eugenics Movement; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • Mixed Race Communities and Social Stability; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • ‘Unnatural Alliances’ and ‘Poor Half-Castes’: Representations of Racial Mixing and Mixedness and the Entrenching of Stereotypes; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • Fitting In and Standing Out: Lived Experiences of Everyday Interraciality; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • ‘Tan Yanks’, ‘Loose Women’ and ‘Brown Babies’: Official Accounts of Mixing and Mixedness During the Second World War; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • ‘Undesirable Element’: The Repatriation of Chinese Sailors and Break Up of Mixed Families in the 1940s; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • Conviviality, Hostility and Ordinariness: Everyday Lives and Emotions in the Second World War and Early Post-war Years; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • Redefining Race: UNESCO, the Biology of Race Crossing, and the Wane of the Eugenics Movement; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • The Era of Mass Immigration and Widespread Population Mixing; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • ‘Would You Let Your Daughter Marry a Black Man?’: Representation and Lived Experiences in the Post-war Period; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • The Emergence of the ‘New Wave’: Insider-Led Studies and Multifaceted Perceptions; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • Social Acceptance, Official Recognition, and Membership of the British Collectivity; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • A Postscript to the Twentieth Century: Mainstream and Celebrated Limitations, and Counter-narratives; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
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A different portrait of black fatherhood

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2018-03-06 19:31Z by Steven

A different portrait of black fatherhood

In Pictures
BBC News
2018-03-06


Zun Lee

Zun Lee was raised in Germany by Korean parents – but as an adult he discovered his real father was a black American with whom his mother had had a brief affair.

After this discovery, he began to explore fatherhood among black Americans.

Lee says the US media mainly portrays black fathers in one of two ways:

  • the absent father, often portrayed as a “deadbeat”
  • the traditional family patriarch, as seen in TV programmes such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

And his project, on display at the Bronx Documentary Centre, in New York, aims for a more balanced and nuanced portrayal.

Read the entire article here.

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Children of black American GIs, Going on holiday with mum, Salome at the National Theatre

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2017-05-28 21:06Z by Steven

Children of black American GIs, Going on holiday with mum, Salome at the National Theatre

Woman’s Hour
BBC Radio 4
2017-05-19

Jenni Murray, Presenter
Beverley Purcell, Producer

Carole Travers from Poole in Dorset is one of a number of mixed heritage children born to African-American fathers who were stationed in the UK during World War II. With their husbands away fighting the war, some women had relationships and children with them. Fiona Clampin talks to Carole who’s been trying to trace her father the whole of her adult life, and to John who is still deeply affected by his early experiences.

With the Election looming, we’re in Sunderland talking to some women about the issue that most concern them. The South African playwright and theatre director Yael Farber discusses her new play Salome, at The National Theatre, a radical revision of the biblical tale. And the joys and pitfalls of going on holiday with your mum no matter what age you are.

Listen to episode here.

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Terry and Judy – A Mixed Race Journey

Posted in Audio, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-11-23 21:16Z by Steven

Terry and Judy – A Mixed Race Journey

The listening project: It’s surprising what you hear when you listen
BBC Radio 4
2016-11-23, 10:55Z

Fi Glover, Presenter

Marya Burgess, Producer

Fi Glover introduces a conversation between a mixed race couple who met at a time when their relationship was a lot more unusual than it is today. Another in the series that proves it’s surprising what you hear when you listen.

The Listening Project is a Radio 4 initiative that offers a snapshot of contemporary Britain in which people across the UK volunteer to have a conversation with someone close to them about a subject they’ve never discussed intimately before. The conversations are being gathered across the UK by teams of producers from local and national radio stations who facilitate each encounter. Every conversation – they’re not BBC interviews, and that’s an important difference – lasts up to an hour, and is then edited to extract the key moment of connection between the participants. Most of the unedited conversations are being archived by the British Library and used to build up a collection of voices capturing a unique portrait of the UK in the second decade of the millennium. You can learn more about The Listening Project by visiting bbc.co.uk/listeningproject.

Listen to the conversation here.

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Black and British: A Forgotten History

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2016-11-19 02:26Z by Steven

Black and British: A Forgotten History

Pan Macmillan
2016-11-03
624 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1447299738
Ebook ISBN: 978-1447299745
Digital Audio ISBN: 978-1509837113

David Olusoga

A vital re-examination of a shared history, published to accompany the landmark BBC Two series.

In Black and British, award-winning historian and broadcaster David Olusoga offers readers a rich and revealing exploration of the extraordinarily long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa. Drawing on new genetic and genealogical research, original records, expert testimony and contemporary interviews, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination and Shakespeare’s Othello.

It reveals that behind the South Sea Bubble was Britain’s global slave-trading empire and that much of the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery. It shows that Black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of the First World War. Black British history can be read in stately homes, street names, statues and memorials across Britain and is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation.

Unflinching, confronting taboos and revealing hitherto unknown scandals, Olusoga describes how black and white Britons have been intimately entwined for centuries.

PREFACE

When I was a child, growing up on a council estate in the North-East of England, I imbibed enough of the background racial tensions of the late 1970s and 1980s to feel profoundly unwelcome in Britain. My right, not just to regard myself as a British citizen, but even to be in Britain seemed contested. Despite our mother’s careful protection, the tenor of our times seeped through the concrete walls into our home and into my mind and my siblings’. Secretly I harboured fears that as part of the group identified by chanting neo-Nazis, hostile neighbours and even television comedians as ‘them’ we might be sent ‘back’. This, in our case, presumably meant ‘back’ to Nigeria, a country of which I had only infant memories, and a land upon which my youngest siblings had never set foot.

At the zenith of its swaggering confidence, the National Front – the NF – made enough noise and sparked enough debate within Britain to make the idea of sending ‘them’ ‘back’ seem vaguely plausible. The fact that in the 1970s and 1980s reputable, mainstream politicians openly discussed programmes for voluntary assisted repatriation that were aimed exclusively at non-white immigrants demonstrates the extent to which the political aether had been polluted by the politics of hate. In the year of my birth the Conservative Party’s General Election Manifesto contained a pledge to encourage voluntary repatriation of immigrants. Today we seem to have forgotten that Enoch Powell’s prediction of ‘Rivers of Blood’ was followed, many years later, by unsubtle calls for a mechanism to be found that might prevent the black British population from ‘doubling or trebling’. In 1981 Powell suggested that people from the ‘new commonwealth’ might be ‘happier outside of the UK’, and proposed a new British Nationality Act to redefine what British citizenship meant. In my childish fearfulness such discussions translated into a deep but unspoken anxiety that a process might, feasibly, be set in train that could lead to the separation and destruction of my family.

To thousands of younger black and mixed-race Britons who, thankfully, cannot remember those decades, the racism of the 1970s and 1980s and the insecurities it bred in the minds of black people are difficult to imagine or relate to. But they are powerful memories for my generation. I was eight years old when the BBC finally cancelled The Black & White Minstrel Show. I have memories of my mother rushing across our living room to change television channels (in the days before remote controls) to avoid her mixed-race children being confronted by grotesque caricatures of themselves on prime-time television. I was seventeen when the last of the touring blackface minstrel shows finally disappeared, having clung on for a decade performing in fading ballrooms on the decaying piers of Britain’s seaside towns. I grew up in a Britain in which there were pictures of golliwogs on jam jars and golliwog dolls alongside the teddy bears in the toy shop windows. One of the worst moments of my unhappy schooling was when, during the run-up to a 1970s Christmas, we were allowed to bring in our favourite toys. The girl who innocently brought her golliwog doll into our classroom plunged me into a day of humiliation and pain that I still find hard to recall, decades later. When, in recent years, I have been assured that such dolls, and the words ‘golliwog’ and ‘wog’, are in fact harmless and that opposition to them is a symptom of rampant political correctness, I recall another incident. It is difficult to regard a word as benign when it has been scrawled onto a note, wrapped around a brick and thrown through one’s living-room window in the dead of night, as happened to my family when I was a boy of fourteen. That scribbled note reiterated the demand that me and my siblings be sent ‘back’…

Read the entire Preface here.

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