Black History encapsulates more than a month. This new daily series will take a look at some lesser known events and people in the world.
Love comes in many forms. Big and small; orthodox and unorthodox; and various shades of black and white. But for the longest time, interracial marriage was a big no-no in the United States. In fact, from 1664 to 1967, it was downright illegal. The anti-miscegenation laws are what made it unlawful for blacks and whites to interact romantically.
These laws were an uncategorized, assembly of regulations that were enacted by many states. The Duke Bar Journal even suggests that should a state be missing anti-miscegenation statutes, it doesn’t clear them of any wrongdoing; they could consider blacks, Asians, and other races as “a negligible part of the population in these states, and that intermarriages are so few that the question can be ignored.”
There are several cases in actual history that deal with opposition to interracial relationships. Take Louis (black) and Louis (white) Gregory for instance. The two met in 1911 after finding common ground in their religion, Bahá’í, which is based on unity. Of course the public disapproved of their relationship but these two continued to love one another. The two married in 1912 in New York after their Bahá’í leader, Abdu’l-Bahá, approved of their love. They were the first interracial couple in their religion. They were married until Louis’s death in 1951.
In July of 1958 as Richard (white) and Mildred (black) Loving -- fresh off of walking down the aisle -- were asleep in their bed in their Virginia home, armed police officers crashed into their room. The two were thrown in jail for the crime of getting married. To add to that, Mildred was pregnant and kept in jail days longer than her husband.
Even though the anti-miscegenation law was only a few years away from being abolished, 24 states still had laws against interracial marriage. The Lovings left their home state and moved to Washington. The American Civil Liberties Union contacted them in regards to their impending court case in 1963. Eventually, the Supreme Court ruled that laws against interracial marriage were unconstitutional.
Or, more recently, the acceptance of interracial marriages is more widespread than it’s ever been. Mayor Bill de Blasio is the first elected New York official to have a black wife. Chirlane McCray is an outspoken writer who works side by side with her husband. Just recently, McCray sat down with the New York Times to discuss the past two years as the First Lady of New York.
While these are just a few examples, there are a host of other historical interracial marriages that shouldn’t go unnoticed.