Invisible Woman Growing Up Black in Germany eBook ✓

In March 1947 I was born My arrival was celebrated within the inner family circle quietly and anxiously When I was a year old my mother married a white German man a year later my sister was born We grew up relatively unburdened during those first five years just like most children We felt we were a family even though I knew that my father was not my real father I had no reason to doubt that with my white mother in my white family in my white hometown I could grow up and be happySo begins the story of Ika Hugel Marshall daughter of an African American serviceman who left Germany for America the day after learning that had impregnated the German woman with whom he was having an affairWhen Hugel Marshall was seven the state intervened in her happy family life recommending that she like other occupation children be placed in an orphanage Here she was subjected to the daily tyrannies of her caretaker Sister Hildegard She struggled to come to terms with life as a German the only life she knew among people who seemed bent on disavowing her existenceNot until she was in her late thirties did she meet other Afro Germans who as children had shared fates similar to her own and who encouraged her to seek out and meet her biological father In 1993 with the support of friends she set out on a journey from Berlin to Chicago's South Side to discover a past and a family she had never known


10 thoughts on “Invisible Woman Growing Up Black in Germany

  1. says:

    Invisible Woman is a heartbreaking eye opening story about how racism and the aftermath of World War II where there were many children of black American soldiers who were left behind in Germany after the peace treaty was signed In a country recovering from war and Nazi propaganda it wasn’t the most ideal location for these children to grow up Ika tells the story of her life and her struggle to be seen as a capable intelligent black woman within a racist German societyIn spite of the profound and difficult subject matter this is a relatively fast read Ika tells her story matter of factly even when relating horrible tales of how she was treated in her orphanage and school which made it even horrible honestly The style of writing is simple enough to speed through which makes it so easy to connect with Ika’s story itself since I didn’t have to grapple with fancy language or metaphors I was completely immersed in her story and rooting for her the whole wayIt’s a story of a search for identity and belonging when everyone keeps telling Ika she is inferior even though she knows she isn’t she struggles with finding a place where she feels like she belongs This includes trying to find a group to accept her within her country while also searching for her American father’s family so she can get to know the black side of her family The most heart warming part is when she is finally able to meet up with her American family it’s beautiful how whole heartedly her family welcomes her and makes her feel just as if she belonged I was worried about how her father’s wife would treat her but she was gracious and welcoming which Ika was grateful forI think this is an excellent and important read It gives a fuller picture of what it means to be black in a society that privileges white people and reading about Ika’s journey growing up and finding herself is an inspirationAlso posted on Purple People Readers


  2. says:

    fehlt nicht an Stimmen es fehlt am Zuhören Aktives Zuhören bei dem man nicht als ersten Impuls versucht seine eigene Position zu vergleichenI found this book through the documentary Audre Lorde The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 by Dagmar Schultz I wanted to go and learn from Afro German voices and Ika's story shows just how deeply racism impacts one's psyche and the trauma that comes from not being accepted or allowed to belong We all have work to do when it comes to accepting respecting and listening to black women


  3. says:

    The unique writing style of this autobiography allowed me to connect closely with the author and it really stood out to me from other works I have read lately


  4. says:

    The story of an occupation baby from post WWII Germany whose African American heritage caused her mother to send her to an institution for orphans It is amazing to hear about racism from a European country especially considering that the causes of WWII should have forced Germans to think twice about the way they treated people who are different The memoir is a bit disorganized and the translation leaves something to be desired in that there are numerous typos and other errors that may confuse the reader Otherwise this is an excellent and quick read