Black Wives, White Maids: Social Implications of Black Military Wives in US-Occupied Germany

When African American military wives moved to US-occupied West Germany following World War II, many of them could afford to hire German maids and nurses. Given the racial status quo in the United States at that time, this opportunity presented a radical deviation from both American race relations and German fascist ideology. Learn more about the social implications of Black military wives abroad in my article published at The Civil Rights Struggle, African-American GIs, and Germany.

#lemonadesyllabus

The #lemonadesyllabus, compiled by writer and educator Candice Benbow in response to Beyonce's visual album, is the beautiful result of a crowdsourcing initiative. This list of books, articles, films, plays, and songs not only presents an invaluable resource of empowering materials, it also reflects the potential for interdisciplinary digital projects. 

Exploring the Digital

The digital turn has transformed lived experiences, particularly the ways in which they can be documented, disseminated, and followed. When researching marginalized groups whose social status is often mirrored in the archive by blatant gaps in their documentation, interdisciplinary methods, for instance oral histories, can fill in blank spaces.

Over the last few years, easy to use digital tools have enabled us to literally put marginalized historical actors back on the map. Tonight, I toyed around with FabulaMap to digitally track the journey of one of my interviewees. I could add a lot more details and nuances but this map provides some of the most important stations in the life of this civil rights advocate. 

I think tools like these make for excellent active-learning assignments in the classroom. 

Remapping Black Germany (University of Massachusetts Press)

Check out this upcoming volume on Afro German history, politics, and culture edited by Sara Lennox.

My chapter "Introduction to Martha Stark: 'My Thirteen Years under the Nazi Terror'" uncovers the experiences of the hitherto unknown Black female Holocaust survivor Martha Stark. Born in Nuernberg in 1914, Stark grew up in a white German family without contact to her African American father. Despite numerous alarming encounters with local Nazis, she ultimately survived the Third Reich, at times through luck and in other instances with the help of her family's upper-class network. In 1949, The Pittsburgh Courier published her experiences under Hitler in nine installments. Her story not only adds nuance to our understanding of Black experiences during the Third Reich,  I argue, but it also sheds light on this woman's emerging Diasporic consciousness as she moves from isolation in fascist Germany to connecting with African American GIs and their families in the postwar years.