German colonialism defines much but not all of how we encounter Black people in Central Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century. As the German government turned westward and across the Atlantic to take over regions of Africa, the first permanent Black communities arrived into German-speaking Europe as a result of their conquering. After the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865, African Americans also began to visit Central Europe in waves. Some came to study at university and to find others who would support the cause of racial advancement in the United States; others came to practice their artistry as musicians and to find new consumers as entertainers. Here we find the origins of black popular culture in Central Europe, and a growing and sustained interest in fettering out (and conquering) the Black diaspora.

Black German experiences

African-American connections

Representations in culture

People shows

Defining and debating race


Colonial politics

Mixed marriages, miscegenation, citizenship