Mabel Grammer, Whose Brown Baby Plan Found Homes for Hundreds

By Alexis Clark

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They were called “brown babies,” or “mischlingskinder,” a derogatory German term for mixed-race children. And sometimes they were just referred to as mutts.  Born during the occupation years in Germany after World War II, the offspring of German women and African-American soldiers, their fathers were usually transferred elsewhere and their mothers risked social repercussions by keeping them, so the babies were placed in orphanages. But when Mabel Grammer, an African-American journalist, became aware of the orphaned children, she stepped in.  Read more about this extraordinary woman HERE and HERE.  The documentary, Brown Babies: The Mischlingskinder Story is available for use to libraries, schools and museums. For more information about the film, visit http://brownbabiesfilm.com/.

National Memorial for Peace and Justice

Our visit to the National Memorial, a memorial to the named and unnamed victims of lynching, began in the rain. We toured the grounds and looked at row upon row of rectangular steel blocks inscribed with the names of victims in each county in which a lynching took place.

Steel blocks with names of lynching victims

We walked a winding path through the field of blocks, suspended in the air and clearly marked with the names of men women and children lynched. Some counties had 1 victim, others with a dozen or so. Counties ranged from the deep southern states of Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Arkansas to the Midwest.

African Americans in Times of War

Image result for tuskegee airmen   Black History Month 2018  honors
“African Americans in Times of War” like the
legendary Tuskegee Airmen, who were highly
decorated for their service in World War II.

The theme for Black History Month in 2018 was “African Americans in Times of War” honoring those brave men and women who served their countries in the armed forces, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending the American ideals of freedom and democracy.

During World War II, for example, more than 2.5 million black men registered for the draft and one million served as draftees or volunteers in every branch of the armed forces.

A decade before the first glimmers of the Amercan civil rights movement, most black men were assigned to segregated combat groups.

Even so, more than 12,000 black men who served in the segregated 92nd Division received citations or were decorated for “extraordinary heroism” on the battlefield. Perhaps more famously, the Tuskegee Airmen also became legendary for their heroic feats, and in total received a Distinguished Unit Citation, several silver stars, 150 distinguished flying crosses, fourteen bronze stars, and 744 air medals.

At war’s end, recognition of the African-American contribution to the war effort would eventually lay the groundwork for the civil rights protests of the 1950s and 1960s. Read more here.