Keeping the ‘brown babies’
in Britain’s ‘brown babies’
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The second chapter focuses on the children born to black GIs who were kept by their mothers or grandmothers – just over half of the forty-five born during the war whose stories I am drawing on. Despite pressure from their families, priests and mother and baby homes, as well as hostility from neighbours and in some cases husbands, many mothers would not give up their babies. The children’s experiences of illegitimacy, racism, and their sense of difference are charted, including having hair that was seen as ‘unmanageable’, an inexplicably different skin tone as well as lacking a father and frequently being kept in total ignorance as to his identity. For part of their childhood, some children believed their stepfathers to be their actual fathers.

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