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Black History: Interracial Marriage

Written by on February 9, 2017

Today we are free to marry the individual we love regardless of sex or race for the most part under Federal law. However, there was a time when you could not marry outside your race and it was the law.

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In 1664, interracial marriage between black and whites or miscegenation was first prohibited in the U.S. in a colony of Maryland. Several states followed suit shortly thereafter making illegal to marry outside your race.

If you were caught you would face the punishment of enslavement, imprisonment or exile if you were white. In 1967, which was over 300 years later the law banning interracial marriage would be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Richard Loving (a white man) and Mildred Jeter (a black woman) who were married in the District of Columbia came back home to Virginia and were arrested for violating the anti-miscegenation law. The couple faced a year in jail prior to going before the Supreme Court which ruled in their favor and were released from jail.

The Supreme Court ruled that banning interracial marriage was unconstitutional on state and local levels. In 1912, Louis Gregory and Louisa Mathews were the first interracial couple to marry in New York.

In the year 2000 Alabama became the last state to legalize interracial marriages.

Click here to read more on interracial marriages that changed history click PBS.org


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