Fasselmann, Jim & Emilia
Jim: October 1st, 1881 - March 8th, 1955;
Emilia: July 6th, 1880 - June 4th, 1956
There is an anecdote in Fredericksburg, about a Black German who reminded the mayor of the city during the anti-German hysteria of WWI: "Mir Deutscha müssa zusammasticka!" ("We Germans must stick together!"). These words are attributed to Jim Fasselmann who was born in October 1881 and lived to the year 1955. Jim had a German and a Black parent. Details of his upbringing are unclear but he was at least partially raised by a German Lutheran pastor and very likely rejected by a white parent. Jim's home language- in any case - was a Texas German dialect. Initially, Jim was accepted into the Lutheran community. One Lutheran pastor remembered, however, that during the 1940s, Jim was served communion separately at services. Attitudes in the immigrant community had shifted , and Afro-Germans were tolerated but no longer integrated in Fredericksburg. Thankfully, Jim was not alone: He married Emilia, the oldest daughter of John Phillips and Mary Duering who also had German and Black roots. Emilia was educated by her mother Mary who also claimed mixed heritage. The six children of Emilia and Jim (Alma, Claude, Hugo, Mary, Albert and Rosa) also spoke German. Some of the grandchildren of Jim and Emilia reside in Fredericksburg to this day. Over the years, the story of Jim's appeal to a sense of German unity and community, has taken on a life of its own. You can listen to a triracial version of the anecdote below. Apparently, all three - the Black man, the Mexican man and the white man - identified as "German" in this version.