“I just wanted to be accepted for who I was”: The story of the children born from relationships between British women and African-American soldiers during World War Two.
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The US first began sending troops to the UK in 1942 to help in the war effort. It is estimated that at least two million American servicemen passed through the UK during World War Two, and tens of thousands of them were black.
The African-American GIs stationed in Britain were forced by the American military to abide by the racial segregation laws that applied in the deep south of the US. But that didn’t stop relationships developing between British women and the black soldiers, some of whom went on to have children. The African-American press called these children ‘Brown Babies’.
Babs Gibson-Ward was one those children. She spoke to Farhana Haider about the stigma of growing up as mixed-race child in post-war Britain. Historian Lucy Bland also talks about her research into a little-known part of British 20th Century history.
The images in this video are used by permission, and are copyright the Gregory S Cooke Collection, except where stated otherwise. More information can be found at http://www.mixedmuseum.org.uk
Main image: Holnicote House children, c.1948. Boys and girls whose parents of mixed ancestry met during WW2. Credit: Lesley York.
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