Baltimore, Maryland (BBR) - German filmmaker, journalist and professor John Kantara visited Morgan State last week where he shared what life for Afro-Germans was like then and now. He explained the diaspora amongst people of African descent that first moved to Germany because of war.
Kantara said that soldiers of African-American descent favored the French during the early 1900s. They were treated better in Europe than they ever were in America. Upon returning home many soldiers found their lives turned upside down. They came back to Jim Crow law and harsh treatments—most were even threatened with death if they were caught in the Army fatigue.
As a professor, Kantara focuses on video journalism, filmmaking, editing and science journalism. He normally works as an educator from Oct. 14 to Feb. 15.
For 18 years, he worked as a freelance documentary filmmaker and for seven years he was an editor with a prestigious German paper.
Kantara explained his goals for the remainder of the year with my class. He plans to work on two documentaries before the year is over which both revolve around the German armed forces. Kantara has is well known in Germany for his work towards the documentary “Good-Better-Vegan?” He also created NEUE BILDER, which focuses on the life of people of Afro descent living in Germany.
Kantara is working on a sequel to a documentary that talks about the German armed forces and how they’re underfunded. The focus will be on the reform processes that occurred due to the unification of Germany. He explained that women started joining the armed forces six to seven years ago. The armed forces are reaching for diversity and Kantara plans to uncover that through his new documentary.
Another documentary Kantara plans to finish later this year is about leadership of the armed forces that will be about 60 to 90 minutes long. He will focus on German history as they approach their centenary. He explained many people were not aware of the types of soldiers Germany used in the early 1900s and how they arrived in Germany. African troops were stationed in Germany during World War II they came from countries such as Senegal, Congo and Morocco. African American troops were also stationed in Germany but soon returned to America after a dispute between Germany and America. Kantara plans to focus on the mixing of Germans with other races which created such a diverse group of Afro-Germans.
He mentioned Black History Month and their adoption of the month in Germany. For most Afro- Germans, it isn’t something that is focused on but they’re aware because of Americans. He also explained how the Black Lives Matter crusade in Germany was viewed among Afro-Germans. “It was something new for Germans to see through social media and shocking to us,” said Kantara. He added however it clear though that Afro-Germans face prejudice and that they’re racially profiled as blacks are here in America.
The writer is a student in the Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication