Germans and African Americans: Two Centuries of Exchange

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Larry A. Greene, Anke Ortlepp
Univ. Press of Mississippi, Dec 7, 2010 - Social Science - 304 pages
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Germans and African Americans, unlike other works on African Americans in Europe, examines the relationship between African Americans and one country, Germany, in great depth.

Germans and African Americans encountered one another within the context of their national identities and group experiences. In the nineteenth century, German immigrants to America and to such communities as Charleston and Cincinnati interacted within the boundaries of their old-world experiences and ideas and within surrounding regional notions of a nation fracturing over slavery. In the post-Civil War era in America through the Weimar era, Germany became a place to which African American entertainers, travelers, and intellectuals such as W. E. B. Du Bois could go to escape American racism and find new opportunities. With the rise of the Third Reich, Germany became the personification of racism, and African Americans in the 1930s and 1940s could use Hitler's evil example to goad America about its own racist practices. Postwar West Germany regained the image as a land more tolerant to African American soldiers than America. African Americans were important to Cold War discourse, especially in the internal ideological struggle between Communist East Germany and democratic West Germany.

Unlike many other countries in Europe, Germany has played a variety of different and conflicting roles in the African American narrative and relationship with Europe. It is this diversity of roles that adds to the complexity of African American and German interactions and mutual perceptions over time.

 

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Contents

African Americans in the German Democratic Republic
3
August Willich Peter H Clark and the Abolitionist Movement in Cincinnati
17
German Immigrants and African Americans in Charleston South Carolina 18501880
37
Louis Douglas and the Weimar Reception of Harlemania
50
The African American Press on Nazi Germany
70
A German Africanist Discovers the Black Bourgeoisie at Howard University 19371939
88
The Limits of German and American Democracy 19451968
105
On the Right Side of History? White WestGerman Public Sentiment between Pornotroping and Civil Rights Solidarity
126
Hans Jürgen Massaquois Democratic Vistas on the Black Atlantic and AfroGermans in Ebony
141
African American Civil Rights Drama in GDR Scholarship and Theater Practice
166
His Portrait Drawn on the Basis of East German GDR Secret Service Files
185
Occupying Black Bodies and Postwar Desire
201
The Development of African American Studies in the Federal Republic of Germany
218
Contributors
231
Index
234
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Anke Ortlepp, Washington, D.C., is a research fellow with the German Historical Institute. She is the author of numerous books in Germany and the U.S.

Larry A. Greene, South Orange, New Jersey, is a professor of history at Seton Hall University. He is the author of two books and numerous articles on African American history.

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