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Britain's 'Brown Babies': mixed-race GI children and the failure of the care system, 1940s-'50s

Children at Holnicote HouseIn the Second World War approximately 2,000 mixed-race children were born to black GIs and British women. At the time they were labelled ‘brown babies’ by the African-American press, far preferable to the widely used British term ‘half-caste’. Nearly half of the babies were put in children’s homes but very few were adopted, adoption societies deeming them ‘too hard to place’. Drawing on numerous interviews with these ‘children’ (now in their 70s) the institutional racism of the period and the care system’s failure to address the children’s needs will be scrutinised.


Brief Biography
Lucy Bland is Professor of Social and Cultural History at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. She has written widely on the history of gender, sexuality, feminism and race relations. Her books include Banishing the Beast: English feminism and sexual morality, 1885-1914 (Penguin, 1995, 2nd edition in 2002); Modern Women on Trial: sexual transgression in the age of the flapper (MUP 2013) and her latest book: Britain’s ‘Brown Babies’: the stories of children born to black GIs and white women in the Second World War (MUP, 2019).

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Dr Pam Alldred B.Sc, PhD, PG.Dip HE, FHEA
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