‘They didn’t allow racism win’ — The story of an couple that is interracial other sides of WWII

‘They didn’t allow racism win’ — The story of an couple that is interracial other sides of WWII

During World War II, Elinor Powell, an African American nurse, joined the racially segregated army in Jim Crow-era Arizona. The discrimination she encountered compounded after she fell deeply in love with Frederick Albert, a German prisoner of war to who she was assigned. Journalist Alexis Clark told the NewsHour Weekend’s Ivette Feliciano about the couple’s unlikely story and her book, “Enemies in like.”

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IVETTE FELICIANO:

German soldier Frederick Albert was captured in Italy in 1944 and taken up to a prisoner of war camp in Arizona where he came across African United states nurse, Elinor Powell.

IVETTE FELICIANO:

So just how did they meet? And what’s the tale of the courtship?

ALEXIS CLARK:

Frederick, who was simply a cook that is great and a baker, worked in a mess hall. And, apparently, he saw Elinor for the very first time and he stepped right up to her and stated, “You ought to know my title. I am the man who’s going to marry you.”

IVETTE FELICIANO:

Plus it was all sailing that is smooth there?

ALEXIS CLARK:

Well, she was surprised, needless to say. After all, listed here is this German prisoner of war, you understand, striking on her. Broad daylight. And therefore it had been apparent which he had been, you understand, attempting to court her.

IVETTE FELICIANO:

Can there be any such thing about their respective upbringings you feel made them more open to an interracial romance?

ALEXIS CLARK:

She ended up being artist dating apps reddit from the prominent family that is black the Boston suburbs. It had been really very progressive. It was called Milton, Massachusetts. Went along to schools that are white. Had friends that are white. And she ended up being from an educated family members. So although she knew about discrimination. She had been largely secluded from that.

Now having said that, Frederick was from Nazi Germany. In which he had been from a very wealthy family. a family that is prominent. And so they had been nationalists that are german. Now they were believers in Hitler, and the German empire although they didn’t join the Nazi party. But Frederick was a musician. And ended up being incredibly into jazz. And so that have been outlawed in Germany by Hitler, but he snuck around and would listen to it. So this impression was had by him of African Americans. These people were creative. These people were hot. All the things he never ever felt growing up in his family, because he’d an extremely dysfunctional relationship together with his dad, in specific. Because he wasn’t a armed forces man. He had beenn’t to the war. He really was this artistic, free spirit. So he saw Elinor, and attached every one of these feelings and some ideas, and dropped madly in love with her. So they began to see one another in secret. He volunteered during the medical center and they could actually continue these key rendezvous, and started a full-blown love.

They found each other when you think about two people who never should’ve been falling in love with each other. And that is what makes this whole story, in my experience, even all the more unbelievable. After all, he was a soldier. She ended up being although discriminated against, she nevertheless had been a american officer in the army. So they had been committing a criminal activity, really.

IVETTE FELICIANO:

If caught dating an enemy POW, Elinor has been court imprisoned and martialed. But that has beenn’t the only crime. Frederick had been white and Elinor had been black colored, in addition they desired to marry. In Arizona in 1944, that too was against the legislation

IVETTE FELICIANO:

How had been they in a position to get hitched?

ALEXIS CLARK:

Following the war ended, all of the POWs that are german deported. So Elinor and Frederick I suggest, call it rebellion that is youthful. I do not know. Insanity. They knew they the best way which they could reunite is if they conceived a kid. So they really did. So he’s deported. She comes back house. Pregnant because of the German POW’s baby. And their plan worked. Because he was permitted to get a sponsorship in which he came back in 1947. And so they married in ny.

IVETTE FELICIANO:

Interracial marriage ended up being permitted in brand New York State. But that did not mean their life were going to be effortless.

ALEXIS CLARK:

They began getting around, having a complete large amount of difficulty getting, even, leases, because no one wanted to live next to them. He could not really get yourself a task. So that they made a decision which they should relocate to Germany because he was groomed to just take his father over’s business. It had been terrible. Elinor ended up being treated poorly. Their mom was not worked up about having a black daughter-in-law, and made that specific. They left Germany following a year and a half. After which they relocated back again to the usa. They first settled in some suburbs outside of Philadelphia. They mightn’t enlist their son in college they wanted to. They were told to attend a black college. So right here they certainly were, dealing with racism on both sides associated with the Atlantic, right?

Plus they find yourself settling in Connecticut, where he gets a working work with Pepperidge Farm. And there is this community called Village Creek, which will be in South Norwalk. It’s actually within their covenants, it is advertised as “a prejudice-free area.” So that they settle there, because it had been a community that welcomed mixed-race partners.

IVETTE FELICIANO:

Frederick and Elinor had two sons and spent the others of their lives in that Village Creek community. He passed on in 2001 and she in 2005.

IVETTE FELICIANO:

Just what exactly you think we could study on this piece of US history that you have documented? How come this story crucial today?

ALEXIS CLARK:

They did not let racism win. And you are thought by me can always study on that. And particularly now. I do believe we are in such partisan times. We know that there surely is a rise in hate groups. I do believe racism is a complete many more overt, in the face, now. I like stories like these, once you reveal that that’s not going to win. And I also think we need to be reminded of those tales of perseverance, of courage. Of difficulty. But, at the conclusion, there is a ending that is happy.

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