Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Black Experience, Mixed-Race sterilization, Nazi Persecution, Josephine Baker, Hans Masaquoi, Theodor Michael, Interwar Europe, France, Germany, Great Britian
This essay looks at the experience of Blacks during the early to mid-20th-century in Germany, Great Britain, and France. Drawing on the autobiographies of Black Germans and African-Americans living in France—as well as various secondary sources, government documents, newspaper articles, and accounts from African-American reporters visiting Europe—Blacks can be firmly placed within the context of early to mid-20th-century Europe and more generally European history. Due to the accessibility of primary accounts by mixed-race Europeans in the 20th century, special attention is paid to the experiences of mixed-race members of the Black community and their perception in each country. Coinciding with the discussion of individual members of the Black community’s experiences, this essay will examine the ways in which mainstream white society in France, Germany, and Great Britain perceived race in the early to mid-20th-century by exploring the roots of the Eugenics movement in each case. Additionally, the experiences of members of the Black community in each respective country will be illuminated by framing them in the context of large-scale controversies related to race during the period, the possible presence of a colonial legacy in each country, and popular culture in the mid- 20th-century. Lastly, this paper gives special attention to the general composition of the Black communities in each country and the role of the entertainment industry in not only providing opportunities to members of the Black communities but aiding in their dehumanization and exoticization. The combination of state-sponsored discrimination, the eroticization of the Black body, mainstream societal stigmas, and colonial legacies were essential in the development of the Black experience as the “other” during the early to mid-20th-century in Great Britain, France, and Germany.
Gamble-Eddington, Tawreak, "The Black Experience in Early to Mid-20th-Century Great Britain, France, and Germany: The Positioning of a Community as the “Other”" (2021). Honors Theses. 2436.