24 October 2018, 18:30 - 19:30
Of the 3 million US serviceman who passed through Britain during World War II, approximately 8% were African-American. Black GIs’ relationships with local women resulted in the birth of an estimated 2000 mixed-race babies. These children were subjected both to the stigma of illegitimacy (the US army forbade marriage between black GIs and white British women) and racism in what was then a very white country. Now in their early 70s, many have subsequently searched for their American relatives. Drawing on over 40 oral history interviews the talk will throw light on a little-known history.
Lucy Bland is Professor of Social and Cultural History at Anglia Ruskin University. She has written widely on the history of feminism, gender and sexuality, including Banishing the Beast: English Feminism and Sexual Morality, 1885-1914 (1995, 2nd edition, 2002) and Modern Women on Trial: Sexual Transgression in the Age of the Flapper (2013). Her book ,Britain’s “Brown Babies”: Children born to Black GIs and British Women in World War II, will be published next year.