Ethelene Whitmire

Position title: Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity Fellow (2017-2018)

School of Library & Information Studies, UW-Madison

Black and White portrait image of Ethelene Whitmire

Searching for a Rainbow: African Americans in 20th Century Denmark

My project, Searching for a Rainbow: African Americans in 20th Century Denmark, is about African Americans who lived, performed, studied and visited Denmark. Educators, painters, social workers, writers, singers, jazz musicians among many others were drawn to this Scandinavian country. While many have written about African Americans in France, their experiences in Denmark have remained unexplored. My project will answer several questions including: Why did African Americans go to Denmark? and What were their experiences while there? I argue that many of my subjects initially viewed Denmark as a utopia.

I am a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison affiliated with the departments of Afro-American Studies, German, Nordic, and Slavic, and Gender & Women’s Studies. I received an American-Scandinavian Foundation fellowship and a Lois Roth Endowment grant to support this project. I was also a 2016-2017 Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Center for Transnational American Studies. My first book is Regina Anderson Andrews, Harlem Renaissance Librarian. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2014.