The German Society of PA, 252nd Stiftungsfest Gala Dinner

November 5th, 2016: It was an honor to be the invited guest of Philadelphia Councilman At-Large Al Taubenberger. 252nd Stiftungsfest Gala Dinner: The German Society’s Stiftungsfest, or Founder’s Ball, is celebrated every November as a commemoration of the Society’s founding in 1764.

The evening, a black tie gala, began with a champagne reception in the library, followed by a catered dinner and dancing in the auditorium. One of the highlights of the event was the Silent Auction, and featured items such as vacation home stays, children’s lederhosen, sporting event tickets, museum passes, and restaurant gift cards.

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Champagne Reception in The Horner Library and Reading Room. The Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library is a research library, housed in an original 1888 reading room restored by the Society in the 1990s. The library houses more than 50,000 volumes, over three-quarters of which are in German, and is one of the largest collections of German books in the United States. The library also maintains a small collection of newer books that that may be borrowed by members of the Society.

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It was an honor to be the invited guest of Councilman At-Large Al Taubenberger. Here with his wife Joanne, and Founding President of the Black German Cultural Society Shirley Gindler-Price and husband Vernon Price.

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Councilman-At-Large Al Taubenberger Speaking. President of The German Society of PA Tony Michels, seated.

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President of BGCS Shirley Gindler-Price. President of The German Society of PA, Mr. Tony Michels and wife.

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Unknown to the greater public, German settlers lead by Francis Daniel Pastorius (who was, like Michels, from Krefeld) are credited with the first recorded protest against slavery, as early as 1683, insisting it was incompatible with Christianity.

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Founding President of the Black German Cultural Society Shirley Gindler-Price.

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A History of Black People in Germany

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Portrait of the family of Mandenga Diek, Berlin, about 1920 – with his wife Emilie Diek (nee Wiedelinski) and daughters Erika and Doris. Many in today’s Black community have roots dating to more than 100 years ago │© SWF

A history of Black people in Germany

The journey has been an arduous one. The historian Paulette Reed-Anderson informs us that in 1682, a ship bearing slaves from Africa docked in Hamburg. Twenty-five years later (1707), African musicians are employed in Prussian military units and Mohrenstrasse is christened in Berlin. By 1877, however, the first of the dreadful Völkerschauen (‘ethnographic exhibitions’) were staged in Hamburg and Berlin.  Seven years later, 1884, Germany was in full colonial mode, annexing Cameroon, Togo, South-West Africa and the so-called German East Africa. But by 1904, the colonies would revolt and Germany would respond with massacres against hundreds of thousands of Herero, Nama and other Africans.

Germany would lose its colonies as part of the treaty ending World War I. The British and French allies stationed Black soldiers from their own African colonies in Germany, and hundreds of biracial offspring ensued which were derogatively called the “Rhineland bastards”. Almost all were either sterilised or interned in concentration camps during the era of National Socialism.

The Nazi era, of course, saw the invocation of the Nuremberg Laws “to protect German bloodline and honour”; thus all Black Germans and their spouses were stripped of their citizenship. The defeat of Hitler and Nazism ushered in an enormous 400,000-strong allied occupation force, including Black soldiers. Thousands of biracial children emerged from relationship between the soldiers and German women, and they were met with hostility and referred to as Besatzungskinder (occupation children). Many were adopted by Black American families, but most fell into dilapidated orphanages or were raised by single mothers.

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Cameroon-born Martin Dibobe, train conductor, at the U-Bahnhof Schlesisches Tor, Berlin ca. 1908. Many Africans came to Germany from its colonies in the continent. Germany would lose its colonies as part of the treaty ending World War I in 1918│Stadt Berlin

It was not pretty. Charly Graf, for example, was born to a Black American GI and a White German woman. Raised in a hard-scrabble section of Mannheim and ignored by his teachers in school, Charly trained his body for professional boxing but also drifted into crime. Prophetically, in May 1985, Charly’s jailers allowed him a brief reprieve from prison so that he could fight Reiner Hartmann in Düsseldorf. Charly won. Now Germany’s heavyweight champ, he was returned to prison.

In general, the effect of Black GIs on Germany has been overstated; actual influence came from American pop culture with its many Black stars, not from soldiers passing through. But by 1960, owing largely to changes in Britain’s immigration laws, migration routes also changed, with Africans now journeying through Italy, across the Alps and into Germany and even Scandinavia. Here was real change. The Africans settled into Germany, learned the language, attended university, worked and often prospered, and also married. The roots of today’s Black Germans were set in the soil.

By 1986, Black Germans were ready to take a stand. Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland (ISD) established networks of meeting and collaboration among Black Germans and “Farbe Bekennen–Afrodeutsche Frauen auf der Spuren ihrer Geschichte (Showing your colour – Afro-Germans in the search for their history) was published and became an indisputable classic. The basic work of ISD advocating for Black Germans is not new. Historian Reed-Anderson reminds us that following World War I, Martin Dibobe, a native of Cameroon and a tram driver in Berlin, represented an association of Africans who petitioned the Weimar government for better treatment of Blacks in Germany.

My view of ISD has always leaned towards the personal. In 2006, for example, Karolin M. told me this story of growing up in Gera: “I was always aware of being the only Black person in school or wherever, and it seems that every second day or so I had to hear some negative comment about my Blackness. I was often afraid to go anywhere.” Then Karolin found ISD on the Internet and attended the Bundestreffen (annual National Retreat of the ISD) in Heidelberg. “It was amazing,” she recalled. “I had never seen so many Black people. I had no idea there was a Black world in Germany. When it was over, I cried all the way home, and for many more days.”

Here is the basic task before ISD and all Black Germans: ending their isolation in a world that all too often responds negatively to Blackness. Article by Gyavira Lasana 
Originally posted HERE.

BGCS™ Exhibit at Black History & Culture Showcase

The Black German Cultural Society™ at the Black History & Culture Showcase, Philadelphia PA Convention Center. We had a magnificent time educating the public about the first generation, binational, Post WWII US Occupation Afro-German children born in Germany. It was very gratifying to see so much interest in our experiences and history. Thanks to everyone who came out to support us! More photos HERE

The Black History and Culture Showcase was Saturday and Sunday, March 26-27, 2016 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th & Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA  11am-6pm.

 

German Town: The Lost Story Of Seaford Town Jamaica

German Town: The Lost Story Of Seaford Town Jamaica

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“German Town: The Lost Story Of Seaford Town Jamaica” is a documentary that explores the history of German heritage within Westmoreland Jamaica.

Deep within the isolated undeveloped mountains of Westmoreland lies a village with a history and people unique to Jamaica. It is said that the inhabitants of this village are descendants of German indentured servants who were used to work the Jamaican plantations after the emancipation period to substitute the slave labor that drove the islands economy.

Others think they came under different circumstances as runaway prisoners, former military battered after the Napoleonic wars seeking a better life to escape the poverty and hardships in their home lands. This documentary project explores the history and contemporary life of Jamaicans of German heritage.

Running time 55 mins
Directed by- David Ritter
Produced by- David Ritter and Clinton Wallace for photomundo international

To watch this documentary in its entirety go HERE
DVDs of this documentary can be purchased HERE
For more info and screenings contact: DAVID RITTER: ritter.david.david@gmail.com
germantownjamaica.com

1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery

GERMANTOWN, where the first protest against slavery was written in the new world, is a historic neighborhood in Northwest Philadelphia, PA. It was founded by German Quaker and Mennonite families from Krefeld, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany.

In 1688, the PETITION AGAINST SLAVERY was drafted by Francis Daniel Pastorius and signed by him and three other Quakers living in Germantown. The petition, based upon the bible’s golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” urged for the abolishment of slavery. It was also one of the first written public declarations of universal human rights. It argued that every human, regardless of belief, color, or ethnicity, had rights that should not be violated.

THONES KUNDERS’ HOUSE’ 5109 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia PA, where the 1688 Petition Against Slavery was written. From Jenkins (1915)

THONES KUNDERS’ HOUSE’
5109 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia PA, where the
1688 Petition Against Slavery was written. From Jenkins (1915)

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Here in 1688, at the home of Tunes Kunders, an eloquent protest was written by a group of German Quakers. Signed by Pastorius and three others, it preceded by 92 years Pennsylvania’s passage of the nation’s first state abolition law.

First Protest Against Slavery, Germantown, PA, 1688. Click on image for text.

First Protest Against Slavery, Germantown, PA, 1688. Click on image for text.

Remembrance of the Germantown Protest came to life again when celebrated American poet John Greenleaf Whittier in 1872 made Pastorius the hero of his narrative poem, “The Pennsylvania Pilgrim.” A Quaker-born abolitionist, Whittier directly addressed the meaning of Pastorius’s long forgotten legacy, ending his poem with the following words:

For, ere Pastorius left the sun and air,
God sent the answer to his life-long prayer;
The child [John Woolman] was born beside the Delaware,

Who, in the power a holy purpose lends,
Guided his people unto nobler ends,
And left them worthier of the name of Friends.

And to! the fulness of the time has come,
And over all the exile’s Western home,
From sea to sea the flowers of freedom bloom!

And joy-bells ring, and silver trumpets blow;
But not for thee, Pastorius! Even so
The world forgets, but the wise angels know.

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Black History Month 2016: Three-star General, Lt. General Nadja West

Congratulations!!!

Lt. Gen. Nadja West has been appointed as the Army’s 44th Surgeon General. With this appointment comes a promotion to lieutenant general, which makes West the Army’s first black female 3-star general as well as the highest ranking female of any race to graduate from West Point.
e1b38273f57d5f421dfe5fa872d79484West started as a child in Germany five decades ago. She came into the world a mischlingskinder or “brown baby”—one of many children borne of liaisons between African American servicemen and German women. Orphaned as a baby, she was adopted at nine months by Oscar and Mabel Grammer. Oscar Grammer worked as a chief warrant officer in the U.S. Army. Mabel Grammer was a civil rights activist and journalist who, at one point, wrote for the Afro American Newspapers. Together the couple adopted 12 children; West was the youngest.

On Tuesday, February 9 (2016), Lt. Gen Nadja West will be honored in an official ceremony. The promotion and ceremony follows the 54-year-old’s confirmation by the Senate as the new Army Surgeon General and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) as of December. As such, West will be assisting and advising the Secretary of the Army and Army Chief of Staff in relation to all health care matters in the Army, in addition to overseeing development, organization, policy direction, and other matters relative to the Army-wide health care systems.

“I was once an orphan with an uncertain future,” said West of the promotion and the new responsibilities facing her in the future. “And I am incredibly honored and humbled to lead such a distinguished team of dedicated professionals who are entrusted with the care of our nation’s sons and daughters, veterans and family members. While our Army and our nation face tough challenges in the future, I am confident that collectively we have the right skills, commitment, and talent to meet those challenges with mission success,” she added.

The Washington D.C. area-native holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a Doctorate of Medicine from George Washington University School of Medicine. She has held previous assignments as Commanding General, Europe Regional Medical Command; Commander of Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, N.C.; and Division Surgeon, 1st Armored Division, Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany. Originally published here.

Black History in the making!
Brava!
Three-Star General,
Lt. General Nadja West,
We Salute You!

2016 Black German Cultural Society Exhibit

* SAVE THE DATES * March 26-27, 2016

The Black German Cultural Society Exhibit at

10250206_626635474096054_244128065566055583_n THE 2016 BLACK HISTORY & CULTURE SHOWCASE!

12313512_930944443665154_4594130090488392978_nAdditional information at: Black History and Culture Showcase

Black German Cultural Society

BGCS Supports 2015 Adoptee Citizenship Act (S.2275)

BGCS fully supports the 2015 Adoptee Citizenship Act (S.2275). This Act is a critically needed piece of legislation pertaining to the lives of thousands of adults who were brought to the US for adoption as children, were never fully naturalized as citizens by their adoptive parents, and then fell through the cracks of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. These adults now face risk of deportation and cannot fully participate as citizens in U.S. society: they cannot vote or obtain passports, and often face difficulties in opening bank accounts, securing financial aid, obtaining a driver’s license, joining the military, obtaining marriage licenses, and finding jobs.

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The 2015 Adoptee Citizenship Act closes the loophole created in the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which failed to include those over age 18 at the time the Act came into effect when granting automatic citizenship. While the Act does not resolve all citizenship loopholes for internationally adopted adults, it is a major step forward in equality and justice for many.

BGCS suggests that individuals exercise caution and restraint in making decisions and taking any action in support or opposition to any legislation until they have fully educated themselves on the purpose and impact of it. We recommend that you read the actual bill, the current laws it will change, and the opinions of a variety of commentators, both for and against any legislation.
The Adoptee Citizenship Act can be found HERE. If you would like to contact your legislators to express your support for or opposition to this bill, you can look them up HERE.
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Black German Cultural Society™ Banquet 2015

Black German Cultural Society Banquet March 2015

Honoring Our Own ~ Honoring Each Other

With hearts filled with joy, compassion and understanding, German-born, Post WWII, US Occupation Babies, stand shoulder to shoulder in recognition and honor. This, in of itself, would have been enough. However, the evening was this, and so much more.

Brown Baby, Save The Children Melody by Diana Ross
(BGCS BANQUET 2015 THEME SONG)
Listen as you peruse our wonderful photographs.

BGCS Secretary and Search Consultant Henriette Cain receiving award for her dedication to BGCS, her Integrity, and for reuniting countless German-born US occupation children with their maternal and paternal families.

BGCS Secretary and Search Consultant Henriette Cain receiving award for her dedication to BGCS, her Integrity, and for reuniting countless German-born US occupation children with their maternal and paternal families.

L to R: Sister C's, friend, Sister C of the Lutheran Seminary of Mt Airy. Rabbi Claire Green (German-born US occupation survivor) and her husband Steve.

L to R: Sister C’s, friend, Sister C of the Lutheran Seminary of Mt Airy. Rabbi Claire Green (German-born US occupation survivor) and her husband Steve.

L to R: German-born US occupation survivor Rudiger (Rudy) Ellis with his wife and daughters.

L to R: German-born US occupation survivor Rudiger (Rudy) Ellis with his wife and daughters.

9 year old German Irmagard and friend üta. Irmagard married an Italian American soldier, but said she remembered seeing the German mother's with thier little 'brown babies.' She came bearing gifts for all.

89 year old German Irmagard and friend üta. Irmagard married an Italian American soldier, but said she remembered seeing the German mother’s with thier little ‘brown babies.’ She came bearing gifts for all.

A bit overcome with emotion. L. to R. BGCS Founding President Shirley Gindler-Price & BGCS Secretary and Search Consultant Henriette Cain

A bit overcome with emotion. L. to R. BGCS Founding President Shirley Gindler-Price & BGCS Secretary and Search Consultant Henriette Cain

Surprise award given to Shirley Gindler-Price, Founding President of BGCS, presented by Honoree Henriette Hood-Cain, BGCS Secretary & Search Consultant & BGCS Family Member Angelika Scurlock

Surprise award given to Shirley Gindler-Price, Founding President of BGCS, presented by Honoree Henriette Hood-Cain, BGCS Secretary & Search Consultant & BGCS Family Member Angelika Scurlock

Attendees captivated by the presentation about German 'Brown Babies' the Forgotten Children.

Attendees captivated by the presentation about German ‘Brown Babies’ the Forgotten Children.

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Henriette Cain with cousin and 2nd generation US Occupation child, Judith Schnitzler-Bell Idowu.

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Rudy Ellis, German-born US Occupation child receiving award from Shirley Gindler-Price, Founding President,

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L. to R. Mr. Tyson K Price of BGCS, son of Founding President Shirley Gindler-Price with German-born US occupation Survivor Rudiger "Rudy" Ellis.

L. to R. Mr. Tyson K Price of BGCS, son of Founding President Shirley Gindler-Price with German-born US occupation Survivor Rudiger “Rudy” Ellis.

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Judith Schnitzler-Bell Idowu and Shirley, 1st and 2nd generation German-born US occupation children,

Attendees captivated by the presentation about German ‘Brown Babies’ the Forgotten Children. Forefront: Mr Vernon V Price of BGCS, husband of Founding President, Shirley Gindler-Price.

L to R:German-born US occupation survivor Wolfgang and banquet attendees from the Asian Federation of the United States and Yusef, raido personality (4 from left

L to R:German-born US occupation survivor Wolfgang and banquet attendees from the Asian Federation of the United States and Yusef, raido personality (4 from left

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Shirley Gindler-Price with Judith Schnitzler-Bell Idowu and her son.

German-born US occupation survivor, Keynote speaker, Daniel Poprocki Cardwell receiving award for his support of BGCS, his personal sacrifices and tireless research on behalf of the German ‘Brown Babies’.

German-born US Occupation survivor Wolfgang receiving his plaque award for his generous contributions and support of BGCS

German-born US Occupation survivor Wolfgang receiving his plaque award for his generous contributions and support of BGCS

Attendees captivated by the presentation about German 'Brown Babies' the Forgotten Children.

Attendees captivated by the presentation about German ‘Brown Babies’ the Forgotten Children.

 L to R: Founding President of BGCS Shirley Gindler-Price, Daniel Cardwell, Angelika Scurlock, Michael Carwell, BGCS Secretary and search consultant Henriette Hood-Cain

L to R: Founding President of BGCS Shirley Gindler-Price, Daniel Cardwell, Angelika Scurlock, Michael Carwell, BGCS Secretary and search consultant Henriette Hood-Cain

Honoring Each Other: With hearts filled with joy, compassion and understanding, 1st and 2nd generation German-born, Afro-German, Post WWII, US Occupation survivors stand shoulder to shoulder in recognition and honor.

Honoring Each Other: With hearts filled with joy, compassion and understanding, 1st and 2nd generation German-born, Afro-German, Post WWII, US Occupation children survivors stand shoulder to shoulder in recognition and honor.

German-born, US occupation survivor Rudy receiving award for generous donation of time and support of BGCS

German-born, US occupation survivor Rudy receiving award for generous donation of time and support of BGCS

Attendees captivated by the presentation about German 'Brown Babies' the Forgotten Children.

Attendees captivated by the presentation about German ‘Brown Babies’ the Forgotten Children.

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Presentation: Germany’s Brown babies: The Forgotten Children

German-born Post WWII, US Occupation Survivors , Founding President Shirley Gindler-Price, BGCS Family Angie Scurlock, BGCS Secretary/ Search Consultant Henriette Cain

German-born US occupation brothers (L) Daniel Paprocki Cardwell and brother Michael Cardwell. Born Jan 1947 in Bamberg, Germany, Michael, upon receiving a Certificate of Recognition from BGCS, said it was the first certificate he had ever received in his life. He said he was going to take it home and frame it.

German-born US occupation brothers (L) Daniel Paprocki Cardwell and brother Michael Cardwell. Born Jan 1947 in Bamberg, Germany, Michael, upon receiving a Certificate of Recognition from BGCS, said it was the first certificate he had ever received in his life. He said he was going to take it home and frame it.

Surprise award given to Shirley Gindler-Price, Founding President of BGCS, presented by Honoree Henriette Hood-Cain, Secretary & Search Consultant for BGCS and Angelika Scurlock, part of the BGCS family.

Surprise award given to Shirley Gindler-Price, Founding President of BGCS, presented by Honoree Henriette Hood-Cain, Secretary & Search Consultant for BGCS and Angelika Scurlock, part of the BGCS family.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHS CAN BE VIEWED ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE.

BGCS Award Banquet 2015

02/28/2015: UPDATE: WE ARE FILLED TO CAPACITY! A HARDY THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS SUPPORTED THIS EFFORT!

“HONORING OUR OWN – HONORING EACH OTHER”
Honoring all Afro-German children, so-called German ‘Brown Babies’,

born to German women and African American soldiers in post WWII Germany.
“WE ACKNOWLEDGE YOU. WE CELEBRATE YOU. WE HONOR YOU.”

BANQUET FLYER

Additional details at BGCS BANQUET

If you have any questions please contact Founding President Shirley Gindler-Price at 267-251-7331 or email BGCSbanquet@gmail.com