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Equal in death, unequal in life. This website tells the tale of the african americans, who played a roll in the liberation of Europe

Discover the stories and experiences of both African Americans soldiers and Dutch citizens at the end of the war.

02. Historical context:

Jim Crow

Until today "Jim Crow" stands for laws and measures that discriminate against black Americans. The name comes from a blackface (a white actor who has been painted black) who performs a "Jim Crow" in his cabaret number. He is a caricatural, stupid and clumsy slave who performs antics and speaks in slave dialect. White audiences could laugh heartily about that. "Jim Crow" therefore refers to a black man and to racial discrimination.

In December 1944, 'Zwarte Piet' (Black Pete) caused a serious riot in Breda. A (white) American commander made his army jeep available for the arrival of 'Sinterklaas'. Within ten minutes he received complaints from black American liberators who were stationed there in large numbers. The Dutch tried to explain to African Americans that Zwarte Piet is "an innocent joke," but they were in turn being taught that some jokes can never be innocent.

The protesting American liberators, who clearly saw Jim Crow in Zwarte Piet, were promised that a face-to-face person would never again be driven around in an American army vehicle while black troops were stationed.

Jim Crow image