Germany's black diaspora: the emergence and struggles of a community, 1880s–1945(1)

AITKEN, Robert (2018). Germany's black diaspora: the emergence and struggles of a community, 1880s–1945(1). In: BLACK DIASPORA AND GERMANY (BDG), , (ed.) The black diaspora and Germany:Deutschland und die schwarze diaspora. Munster, Germany, Edition Assemblage, 84-100.

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Growing numbers of Black men and women spent time in Germany in the period immediately prior to the outbreak of World War One. This was foremost a consequence of the establishment of a German colonial empire in Africa in 1884 and the emergence of Germany as a maritime power. In particular, new migration pathways brought an almost continuous movement of young men from Germany's African colonies, primarily, but not exclusively from Cameroon and Togo. They formed part of a diverse Black presence which was largely transient in nature with most Black men and women staying in Germany only as visitors, eventually returning to their countries of origin. Nonetheless, by 1914 others were remaining on a longer term basis either out of choice or necessity and a small, but visible and increasingly interconnected population of Black residents was emerging. As will be shown the potential for growth of this Black population was greatly curtailed by the war and Germany's loss of its colonies under the Versailles Settlement. Focusing on the lives of Africans from the German colonies and their German-born children, this chapter takes a chronological look at the development of a Black community in Germany from the 1880s up to 1945. It begins by outlining the migration pathways that brought African colonial subjects to Germany pre-1914, before examining the difficulties they faced in setting down roots in interwar Germany; difficulties that were exacerbated by their increasingly unclear citizenship status. The chapter also considers the formal and informal social and political networks they and others of African heritage created at a national and transnational level during the Weimar years. The final section outlines the increasing assault on Black lives and Germany's Black community from the National Socialists.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humanities Research Centre
Page Range: 84-100
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2019 09:46
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 05:29

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