Our Approach

The Georgiana Simpson Society

The Georgiana Simpson Society for German Diaspora Studies (GSSGDS) is an independent organization of experienced educators and scholars in German Studies.  The Society embraces the Standards set by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) and is an affiliated organization of the College Language Association (CLA) . Membership is open to teachers and advanced students of languages, literatures and the arts, linguistics, and cultural studies.


The Society seeks to foster a better understanding of the transatlantic ties linking Germany and the African Diaspora and to present global perspectives of the ways in which the experiences of Germans of African descent and Black immigrants to and emigrants from Germany and other German-speaking nations are represented in history, literature, the arts, and other cultural contributions. The Society aims to promote comparative scholarship to help bolster German Studies in North America by providing a broader, more accurate visual account of German culture and society for German Studies.


It is our philosophy that all of our students must be able to see themselves in the nation of the language and culture they are studying. To that end, the interests of the members of the Society comprise a broad range, including

Research on and analysis of:

  • memoirs and real-life interviews of Black Germans
  • examples of Black German representation in literature,  film, theater, and music for use in the classroom
  • historical events affecting issues of race and ethnicity
  • colonialism and post-colonialism in Black German history
  • emerging literature that reflects the impact of evolving generational perspectives and demographic shifts

Leading by example through:

  • Sustaining active participation and leadership roles in the AATG’s committee on diversity, in particular via seminars and research in Berlin and Hamburg, where large groups of Black and ethnic Germans reside and create artistic contributions
  • Creating outreach activities that help teachers to develop relevant curriculum and to train current and future teachers of German to create readily accessible classroom materials that resemble the current multicultural German-speaking world
  • Providing examples that enable students of color to make connections between themselves and German-speaking countries and German culture


In 1921 Georgianna Simpson, a native of Washington, D.C, received the Ph.D. in German Philology as the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and the second Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in the United States.

Our Story