Invisible Woman: Growing Up Black in Germany, republished in a new annotated edition, recounts Ika Hugel-Marshall's experiences growing up as the daughter of a white German woman and an African-American man after World War II. As an "occupation baby", born in a small German town in 1947, Ika has a double stigma: Not only has she been born out of wedlock, but she is also Black. Although loved by her mother, Ika's experiences with German society's reaction to her skin color resonate with the insidiousness of racism, thus instilling in her a longing to meet her biological father. When she is seven, the state places her into a church-affiliated orphanage far away from where her mother, sister, and stepfather live. She is exposed to the scorn and cruelty of the nuns entrusted with her care. Despite the institutionalized racism, Ika overcomes these hurdles, and finally, when she is in her forties, she locates her father with the help of a good friend and discovers that she has a loving family in Chicago.
The Author: Ika Hugel-Marshall has a degree in social pedagogics. She is teaching gender studies and psychological counseling at the Alice-Salomon-Fachhochschule fur Sozialarbeit und Sozialpadagogik in Berlin. Trained as a counselor, she primarily works with intercultural teams and bi-national couples. Ika Hugel-Marshall has published various articles on anti-racist consciousness raising and is co-editor of Entfernte Verbindungen: Rassismus, Antisemitismus und Klassenunterdruckung (1993). In 1996, Ika Hugel-Marshall received the Audre Lorde Literary Award for the completion of Invisible Woman. She has given numerous readings in Germany, Austria, and the United States. An artist, she has designed book covers and exhibited her drawings and wood sculptures.