Black History and Germany

It is but normal that I refreshed my knowledge of black history in Germany in my attempt to profit from the push February, being Black history month, brings. It was a beautiful and enriching experience so I thought I should share. 
Blacks in Germany are a minority in Germany. An estimated 500.000 people of african decent live in Germany today. Historians trace their presence back to 1700. The first blacks in Germany were mostly students or domestic workers from the few German African colonies (presently Togo, Cameroon and Namibia). 
Prior to World War I, prominent Africans in Germany included Anton Wilhelm Amo (1703-1759). He was born in Ghana and came to Germany under the protection of the Duke (Herzog) of Wolfenbüttel in Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) and grew up in the duke's castle. He is the first African known to have attended a German university (Halle) and the first to obtain a doctorate degree (in 1729) in Germany. He taught as professor, under his preferred name of Antonius Guilelmus Amo Afer, at two German universities and published several academic papers, like his Latin treatise

De Arte Sobrie et Accurate Philosophandi
(1736, "On the Art of Philosophizing Soberly and Accurately"). 


Monument of Prof.  Anton Wihelm Amo and his wife in  Halle/ Salle


After World War I there was a significant influx of African soldiers to Germany. Most of them were West Africans in the French army, which occupied the Rhineland. Many of them married Germans and had kids who, after many generations, still live in Germany. By the 1920s there were about 10,000 to 25,000 Afro Germans in Germany, most of them in Berlin or other metropolitan areas. Before Nazi rule, black musicians and other entertainers were popular in the nightlife scene in Berlin and other large cities. Jazz was made popular in Germany and Europe by black musicians, Many Jazz musicians from the U.S., who found life in Europe more liberating than that back home, made Jazz popular in Germany. Both W.E.B. du Bois, American writer and civil rights activist and Mary Church Terrell, the suffragist studied in Berlin.

During the Nazi regime life became tough for blacks in Germany. Many were killed, sterilised, driven into forced labour or exile (watch out for my entry on Africans in Germany during Nazi rule).

Post World War 2 marked a new era for Africans in Germany who were mostly immigrants of various statuses. A relatively large group, in then West Germany, was made up of British (mostly of Jamaican origin) and American GI's who served in Germany, married and had children, who still live in Germany. Colin Powell, former US secretary of state served in West Germany as a GI. Africans in former East Germany were mostly from communist African states. They came through Scholarship Awards or other government programmes.

Today's picture of people of African decent in Germany is very mosaic, marked by people of various social statuses, professions and nationalities.

Heute leben etwas 500.000 Leute afrikanischer Herkunft in Deutschland. Historiker führen die ihre Präsenz auf 1700 zurück. 
Vorm ersten Weltkrieg machten Studenten und Haushaltshilfen einen bedeutsamen Anteil Afro-deutschen aus. Anton Wilhelm Amo, aus dem heutigen Ghana, lebte und studierte  Philosophie und Jura zu dieser Zeit in Niedersachen und wurde der erste Afrikaner, der in Deutschland promovierte. Als Professor war er in mehreren Universitäten Ostdeutschlands tätig. Das Anton-Wilhelm-Amo-Denkmal steht an der Universität Halle (Salle). 
In den Großstädten waren Musiker und Künstler afroamerikanischer Herkunft ein wichtiger Teil des Nachtlebens. W.E.B. du Bois, Amerikanischer Schriftsteller und Bürgerrechtler sowie Mary Church Terrell, die Frauenrechtlerin, haben in Berlin studiert.
Nach dem ersten Weltkrieg kam der erste große Zustrom afrikanischen Zuwanderer nach Deutschland. Sie waren meistens Mitglied der französischen Besatzungstruppe im Rheinland.
In den NS-Zeiten wurde das Leben von Afrikanern in Deutschland aufgrund der rassistischen Propaganda und Praktiken zunehmend schwer. Viele verließen das Land, viele starben in Konzentrationslagern und einige fanden eine Fluchtmöglichkeit als Schauspieler in kolonialpolitisch inszenierten Filmen und Theaterstücken.
Die Afro-deutsche Bevölkerung der Nachkriegszeit ist gekennzeichnet  durch das Nachkommen o.g Gruppen sowie durch ein neuerlicher Zustrom von Bildungsmigranten, Asylbewerbern und Gastarbeitern.