The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs, and Germany

This research project explores the connection between the US military presence abroad and the advancement of civil rights in the US. We investigate the role that African-American GIs played in carrying the civil rights movement to Germany, which was host to the largest contingent of US troops deployed outside the US.

Between 1945 and the end of the Cold War, some 15-20 million American soldiers, families, and civilian employees lived in Germany. Between 2-3 million of those Americans were African American. By giving voice to their experience and to that of the people who interacted with them, we will expand the story of the African-American civil rights struggle beyond the boundaries of the US.