I Will Be Different Every Time: Black Women In Biel

Published By Verlag die brotsuppe


This book contributes to the history of Black women in Switzerland. From different backgrounds and different generations, women from the African diaspora share stories about their lives and experiences, offering insights into perspectives and ways of thinking seldom heard in Switzerland. 

More than 60 years ago, the African-American writer James Baldwin came to Switzerland where he discovered that most Swiss people had never even seen a Black person. In his 1955 book Stranger in The Village, Baldwin wrote how he felt like a spectacle: “If I sat in the sun for more than five minutes, some daring creature was certain to come along and gingerly put his fingers on my hand, astonished that the color did not rub off”.

Much has changed since then. Swiss society has become more and more diverse, and People of Color are nowadays part of everyday life, continuing to shape the future of Switzerland. Given its bilingualism, Biel has been a special center in Switzerland for Black history, migration and life. From different countries and for different reasons, People of Color have come to Biel, and now come from Biel. Many were born in Switzerland, while others have arrived from America or Africa. Many have also arrived as asylum seekers.

Few Swiss people know these stories, which is something our book seeks to change. And we do so with a special focus on Women of Color because it is their voices which are typically the ones heard the least.

Edited by Fork Burke, Myriam Diarra and Franziska Schutzbach, the book has contributions in German, French and English.