Black German Cultural Society
Black German Cultural Society (BGCS)™ founded 1999, established itself as the premiere organization serving as a resource, networking organization as well as a forum to facilitate awareness, discussions, and reflection of important issues that impact Black Germans, Post WWII Afro-Germans (known as Brown Babies and Mischlingskinder), and their descendants.
BGCS also supports, promotes, and may initiate a number of educational activities such as but not limited to: exhibits, lectures, tours to historical sites and cultural centers, educational forums, seminars and panel discussions in academic and non-academic settings.
BGCS is a federally recognized 501(c)3 charitable non-profit organization of Afro/ Black Germans who reside in the USA, Germany, and other places abroad who are dedicated to embracing, honoring, and preserving the dual cultural heritage of being African American and German.
The Black German Cultural Society was initially conceived as a group by Christoph Schneider-Yattara, his wife Nancy Schneider, and friend Linda Weide, a group of Black Germans who immigrated from Germany to the United States. The purpose of the group was to sustain their German cultural heritage by bringing together, informing, and nurturing relationships among their families and friends while educating the broader American and African American communities about the existence of German born Blacks living in Germany, many of whom were of African American descent. They gave presentations at the American Association of German Teachers (AATG) conferences, the Goethe-Institute Chicago, NEH-Summer Institute at the University of Mass Amherst, as well as a number of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Posts.
Yattara and the others quickly learned from Shirley Gindler-Price, a German born adoptee living in Philadelphia, Pa., that there was a significant, yet unorganized adult group of Post WW II war babies or so-called German ‘Brown Babies’ living in the United States. Most had become naturalized citizens as infants and young children upon their adoptions either by African American military families stationed in Germany or African American civilian families residing in the United States.
Together, the Schneider-Yattaras and the Prices reorganized the group and co-founded the Black German Cultural Society as a viable organization. In December of 1999, BGCS was incorporated as a legal entity in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and became a federally recognized 501(c)3 charitable, non-profit organization. The focus of the group changed to include the development of cooperative partnerships with academic, humanitarian, diplomatic, cultural and social organizations as they related to Black Germans of the African Diaspora.
BGCS expanded its mission to include the Afro-German Youth Exchange program. The program served to host Black German youth of African American descent from Germany to the United States in order to promote pride and self-respect of their dual heritage. Nine youth and four chaperons from Berlin Germany visited Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC and toured historical sites and cultural centers to learn about the contributions of African Americans as well as Germans to American society.
As the organization’s online listserv membership grew to include not only persons from the aforementioned groups, but students, academicians and historians, BGCS broadened the scope of communications and services by establishing Elternsuche, a second internet-based community. Under the auspices of Henriette Cain, resident adoption search consultant and genealogist, and headed by Shirley Gindler-Price, a lay counselor for issues related to transnational adoptees, BGCS offered searches, support and resource services to adoptees and their families.
Since that time, BGCS, Inc. has helped to promote the inclusion of Black German literature and history in German Studies Programs, and the participation of minority students in German Language Learning and International Exchange Programs.
After a decade of success and progressive expansion, the Black German Cultural Society has been recognized and honored with a commemoration by the City of Philadelphia. The organization has become not only a sociocultural entity that provides supportive services to its membership here in America, but also an international historic and academic society committed to documenting, archiving pertinent information, and educating others about post WWII Afro-German children as well as the Black German experience in Germany.
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