Black History Month in Germany

Black History Month in Germany

German Mission to the United States

In the United States February has been celebrated as Black History Month for the past four decades or so, with schools, media, institutions and celebrities taking the opportunity to highlight the accomplishments and historical experiences of African Americans. In recent years, Germany has joined a number of other countries, namely Canada and the UK, with its own Black History Month events.

In Germany, people with a black African background use the term “Afrodeutsch” or “Schwarz” to identify themselves. Their ethnic backgrounds are varied: many are immigrants or children of immigrants from African countries, some with one white German parent; others are the children or descendants of black US soldiers who were stationed in Germany as far back as the 1950s. It is impossible to say how many black Germans there are, however; in 2008, Spiegel magazine used the number 500,000, though ethnicity is not officially counted.

The proportion to the overall German population is thus quite small, but with Black History Month events, a number or organizations are raising the profile of black people in Germany. Hamburg and Berlin, commonly recognized as the cities with the largest black communities, are the cities with the largest and most long-standing Black History Month celebrations. In both cities, the organization Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland (Initiative of Black People in Germany) was instrumental in organizing the first celebrations in the early 90s…

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