LONDON — In a backyard in Berlin, a ramshackle house that was once a haven for the civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks is preparing for its third life — back in the United States. It had almost been lost to history, falling into blight, abuse and foreclosure, in Detroit. But in 2016, the American artist Ryan Mendoza shipped the dismantled facade in two containers to his home in Germany. There, it was restored as an art exhibit in his garden in the Wedding neighborhood.
Then the strange and itinerant journey of the wood-frame house took another turn recently, when a member of the Nash Family Foundation, based in Manitowoc, Wis., formally agreed to pay for its passage back.“I never wanted to rebuild it in my backyard,” Mr. Mendoza said by phone from Berlin. “But I wanted to protect it.”“ It’s time for the house to return home,” he added. “It’s needed for people to have another major point of reference for how to treat each other with dignity. This will be a marker on the ground.”
While the house has a ticket back to America, the question of where it would find a permanent home remains unanswered. The hurdles seem huge, the logistics daunting, but calls and emails have gone out for help to institutions including Brown University in Rhode Island, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit and the Brooklyn Museum, among others, Mr. Mendoza said. At least two institutions — Brown and Wright — said they were seriously considering the project. “The house has a symbolic importance — it’s important in the narrative of her life,” said James Nash, a board member and the driving force behind the foundation’s pledge. “She suffered for a huge act of courage. It should be here, not in Berlin.”
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (KSPR) – Brigadier General Donna Martin recently became the first African American female ever to serve as commandant of the U.S. Army Military Police School. In a ceremony on Friday, July 14, Martin’s title was made official as Brigadier General Kevin Vereen relinquished commandancy.
Brig. Gen. Martin described herself as a quiet, small town girl from Virginia. She stayed in Virginia to attend college at Old Dominion University until she was sent on her first assignment with the U.S. Army in Germany. She said she didn’t know if she was going to take the military route at the start of college, but a group of ROTC members made her feel at home. “They were really a group of kids who were just like me,” said Brig. Gen. Martin. “We all had common goals, we all had this feeling to serve and be apart of something that was bigger than ourselves.”
Martin said that’s where her love for the Army started nearly 30 years ago. “It never gets old… Every single assignment, every single move is a new adventure and I’m having a blast.” She called her new role one of the most important roles she has ever taken. She remembered the first time meeting her commandant at Fort McClellan in Alabama, where the U.S. Army Military Police School was before moving to Fort Leonard Wood. “I don’t know that I ever aspired to be the commandant, but I always looked up to this position,” she said. She described how the commandant would share his thoughts about the future and said ” we all bought it.” She said they all thought those conversations were amazing. “For me, 25 or 26 years later now to be assuming that role, it’s still kind of surreal.”
As for taking on this new role, she said she is excited to be apart of the team in Fort Leonard Wood. KSPR News asked what advice she had for anyone who finds her inspiring or looks to her for strength. She said it pretty simply, “You have to be determined, set a goal, and just work hard.”
Karamba Diaby, a Senegal-born chemist, has become Germany’s first black federal lawmaker, and a woman of Turkish origin has become the first Muslim elected to Parliament from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party, officials said Monday.
Until now there were no black lawmakers in Parliament, despite more than 500,000 people of recent African origin believed to be living in Germany. “My election into the German Parliament is of historical importance,” said Karamba Diaby, 51, who moved to the city of Halle in 1986 after receiving a scholarship to study in communist East Germany.
Diaby, who gained German citizenship in 2001, said his priority would be to promote equal opportunities in education. “Every child born in Germany should have the chance to be successful in school regardless of their social background or the income of their parents,” he said.
BERLIN, June 19 (Reuters) – Michelle Obama and her daughters threaded roses through the narrow slots of a Berlin Wall memorial on Wednesday, honouring those who died trying to cross the Cold War barrier at a site which holds special poignancy in the once divided city. Accompanied by Angela Merkel’s husband Joachim Sauer, who like the German leader hails from the former East Germany, President Barack Obama’s family toured the Bernauer Strasse memorial where desperate residents of East Berlin once tried to jump from their windows into the western half of the city.
At Bernauer Strasse, the wall, erected in 1961 by East Germany’s communist rulers to prevent citizens from fleeing to the West, cut right in front of the apartment blocks. Two years after the wall went up, U.S. President John F. Kennedy visited the west of the city and delivered his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in which he pledged not to abandon the citizens of Berlin. President Obama’s visit has been timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of that speech.
HALLE, Germany — When Karamba Diaby arrived in Germany as a student from Senegal he knew only two things in German: Bundesliga and BMW — the professional soccer league and the automobile manufacturer. The only hitch was that it was October 1985 and Mr. Diaby had landed in East Germany, where comrades frowned on both West German capitalist institutions. “They weren’t too fond of hearing that in the East,” said Mr. Diaby, 51. “They told me, ‘We don’t say BMW here, we say ‘Trabi,’ ” the nickname for the rickety yet ubiquitous East German car, the Trabant.
The bland, greasy food in East Germany was a far cry from the spicy cuisine of his native Senegal, where his sister used to cook his favorite dish, thiebou dien, a paellalike preparation made with fried okra, yams and fish. But he stuck it out to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, making a home for himself here in the state of Saxony-Anhalt and becoming a German citizen in 2001.
Now Mr. Diaby has the opportunity to make history himself. He placed third in the Social Democrats’ state primary in February to earn a coveted spot on the party’s parliamentary list. If Mr. Diaby and the Social Democrats can defend the three seats they won here four years ago, he would become the first black member of the Bundestag in German history.
Brigadier General Nadja West, deputy chief of staff, G-1/4/6 for the United States Army Medical Command, will be promoted to Major General. This promotion will make West the first African-American two-star general in the United States Army Medical Command.
West graduated from the U.S. Military Academy with a bachelor of science in engineering and attended the George Washington University School of Medicine, where she earned a Doctorate of Medicine degree. She completed an internship and a residency in family practice at the Martin Army Hospital. Dr. West did a second residency in dermatology at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and the University of Colorado Medical Center.
Later, she was assigned chief of dermatology service at the Heidelberg Army Hospital in Germany, and served as the division surgeon of 1st Armored Division in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, deploying to Macedonia and Kosovo as the deputy task force surgeon. She graduated from the National War College, earning a master’s degree in national security strategy. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Family Practice.
Philip Kwame Apagya, Come on Board, 2000/2003 Courtesy of The Walther Collection
Arthur Walther,64, is a German-American art collector who began collecting artwork and photography in China in the early 1990′s. Following his retirement as a general partner at Goldman Sachs and the founding partner of the firm’s German operations, Walther focused on his collection. The wave of modernization and economic reform flooding through China resulted in artists recording and analyzing the changes that were occurring. As China competed more in the global market, Walther found himself shying away from their artists and collecting more work from contemporary African artists.
“A number of these [artworks] overlapped continuously,” Walther said at the exhibition of his latest exhibition, Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive, which is being shown at the Chelsea Arts Building in New York. “I collected Chinese art very slowly. In the nineties and early 2000, [Chinese art was] a real examination and investigation by the artist of society and of the transformations and of their histories. Which before didn’t happen to that degree [because art] was all propaganda and political.”