LC lecturer looks back on landmark court case on mixed-race marriage

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2017-02-23 23:30Z by Steven

LC lecturer looks back on landmark court case on mixed-race marriage

The News & Advance
Lynchburg, Virginia
2017-02-22

Josh Moody

Today Americans enjoy the Constitutional right to marry regardless of race — but it wasn’t always so, and landmark Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia can be thanked for breaking down that barrier.

The famous court case was settled in June of 1967 by the U.S. Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and struck down prohibitions against mixed-race marriages. To celebrate that anniversary, Lynchburg College brought in Peter Wallenstein, a Virginia Tech history professor and researcher who has written three books about the court case, among others.

The case involved Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Jeter, a pregnant, mixed-race woman, who married one another in June of 1958 despite Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws. The couple actually married in Washington, D.C., in the hope of avoiding a violation of Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924, but were charged for crossing state lines to marry when they returned to Clear [Central] Point, Virginia…

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Evolution of interracial marriage

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Videos, Virginia on 2016-11-30 23:58Z by Steven

Evolution of interracial marriage

WSLS-TV 10
Roanoke, Virginia
2016-11-22

Brie Jackson, Anchor/Reporter

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) – The story of one Virginia couple whose love for one another changed history is being shown on the big screen nationwide including the Grandin Theatre.

“Loving” tells the story of Mildred and Richard Loving. He was white, she was black and Native American. Decades ago, their marriage was against the law in Virginia and several other states. Their love story broke barriers for interracial couples.

In 1958, the couple married in Washington, D.C. where it was legal, but returned home to Virginia and were arrested. A judge sentenced the couple to prison unless they left the commonwealth for 25 years. They did, but returned to the state five years later and were jailed again. Eventually their case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where the court ruled the ban on interracial marriage unconstitutional.

That 1967 decision paved the way for others to marry who they love regardless of race.

“The bottom-line, if you love someone it does not matter the color of your skin,” said Pamela Casey.

Pamela and Corwin Casey’s love story begins in 1980 when Corwin was an activities director at a children’s home in North Carolina. Pamela said they met on her first day. She arrived as a volunteer from her church in Ohio

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“We Were Married on the Second Day of June, and the Police Came After Us the 14th of July.”

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2016-11-13 23:21Z by Steven

 

“We Were Married on the Second Day of June, and the Police Came After Us the 14th of July.”

The Washingtonian
2016-11-02

Hillary Kelly, Design & Style Editor


Richard and Mildred Loving. Photograph by Grey Villet.

An oral history, nearly 50 years later, of the landmark Virginia case that legalized interracial marriage—and is the subject of a talked-about movie out this month.

In June 1958, Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving drove from their home in Central Point, Virginia, to Washington, DC, to be married. Twenty-four states, including Virginia, still outlawed interracial marriage at the time. Mildred was part Native American and part African-American; Richard was white. Their union would eventually result in their banishment from the state and a nine-year legal battle.

On November 4, almost 50 years after the Supreme Court’s 1967 decision that the Lovings’ marriage was valid—and that marriage is a universal right—Hollywood is set to release Loving, already on Oscar lists. As director Jeff Nichols explained when asked why he took on the project, “We have very painful wounds in this country, and they need to be brought out into the light. And it’s gonna be an awkward, uncomfortable, painful conversation that’s going to continue for a while.”

The movie focuses on Mildred and Richard’s romance. We looked behind the scenes of the struggle itself, talking to insiders including the couple’s attorneys—then just out of law school—to revisit the case. One remarkable aspect: Unlike other civil-rights champions of their era, the Lovings never set out to change the course of history. “What happened, we real­ly didn’t intend for it to happen,” Mildred said in 1992. “What we wanted, we wanted to come home.”

This is the story of how a quiet couple from rural Virginia brought about marriage equality for themselves, and for all…

Read the entire article here.

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Race, Sex, and the Freedom to Marry: Loving v. Virginia

Posted in Books, History, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Virginia on 2014-11-09 17:36Z by Steven

Race, Sex, and the Freedom to Marry: Loving v. Virginia

University Press of Kansas
November 2014
296 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/2
Cloth ISBN 978-0-7006-1999-3, $39.95(s)
Paper ISBN 978-0-7006-2000-5, $19.95(s)
Ebook ISBN 978-0-7006-2048-7

Peter Wallenstein, Professor of History
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

In 1958 Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving, two young lovers from Caroline County, Virginia, got married. Soon they were hauled out of their bedroom in the middle of the night and taken to jail. Their crime? Loving was white, Jeter was not, and in Virginia—as in twenty-three other states then—interracial marriage was illegal. Their experience reflected that of countless couples across America since colonial times. And in challenging the laws against their marriage, the Lovings closed the book on that very long chapter in the nation’s history. Race, Sex, and the Freedom to Marry tells the story of this couple and the case that forever changed the law of race and marriage in America.

The story of the Lovings and the case they took to the Supreme Court involved a community, an extended family, and in particular five main characters—the couple, two young attorneys, and a crusty local judge who twice presided over their case—as well as such key dimensions of political and cultural life as race, gender, religion, law, identity, and family. In Race, Sex, and the Freedom to Marry, Peter Wallenstein brings these characters and their legal travails to life, and situates them within the wider context—even at the center—of American history. Along the way, he untangles the arbitrary distinctions that long sorted out Americans by racial identity—distinctions that changed over time, varied across space, and could extend the reach of criminal law into the most remote community. In light of the related legal arguments and historical development, moreover, Wallenstein compares interracial and same-sex marriage.

A fair amount is known about the saga of the Lovings and the historic court decision that permitted them to be married and remain free. And some of what is known, Wallenstein tells us, is actually true. A detailed, in-depth account of the case, as compelling for its legal and historical insights as for its human drama, this book at long last clarifies the events and the personalities that reconfigured race, marriage, and law in America.

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Race, Marriage, and the Law of Freedom: Alabama and Virginia 1860s-1960s

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2014-02-24 03:05Z by Steven

Race, Marriage, and the Law of Freedom: Alabama and Virginia 1860s-1960s

Chicago-Kent Law Review
Volume 70, Issue 2: Symposium on the Law of Freedom, Part I: Freedom: Personal Liberty and Private Law (1994)
pages 371-437

Peter Wallenstein, Professor of History
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

INTRODUCTION

In 1966, one hundred years after Congress passed the Fourteenth Amendment and sent it to the states for ratification,’ Richard and Mildred Loving took a case to the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge their convictions for having violated Virginia’s laws against interracial marriage. In the months ahead, the nation’s high court would face squarely, for the first time, the question of whether laws like Virginia’s violated the Fourteenth Amendment. In June 1967, in a unanimous decision, the Court struck down all laws that made the racial identity of an American citizen a criterion for indictment and conviction for the crime of contracting a marriage.

The most private of relationships proved tightly entwined with public policy in the years after the end of American slavery. Sexual relations across racial lines-whether within marriage or outside itproved a topic of judicial interest into the 1960s for two reasons. First, many American states enacted and long retained statutes restricting such interracial relations, and second, some people sought to establish and maintain such relations whatever the law. Generalizing about the racial attitudes and behavior of white southerners, Swedish sociologist Gunnar Myrdal noted in the early 1940s that “the closer the association of a type of interracial behavior is to sexual and social intercourse on an equalitarian basis, the higher it ranks among the forbidden things.”

This Essay focuses on the most forbidden thing of all: marriage between African Americans and European Americans. The Essay details the origins and application of laws against such marriages, and tracks the history of challenges in the courts to those laws. Two states, Virginia in the Upper South and Alabama in the Deep South, together illustrate how the law related to sex, marriage, and interracial couples. Though the variations on a general theme are intriguing, the two states differed little in the outlines of their legislative or judicial histories on questions of miscegenation. Both states criminalized sexual and marital relations of an interracial nature. In both states, any number of cases developed at the local level, as the courts dealt with indictments for violating the antimiscegenation laws. At the appellate level some defendants brought appeals on constitutional or other grounds. The legal environment in each state was shaped by a decision from the other state.

Four cases, two from Alabama and two from Virginia, went to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1883, Pace v. Alabama supplied a major precedent in favor of the constitutionality of antimiscegenation statutes. Virginia relied on Pace into the 1960s to justify its own antimiscegenation  laws. In two cases in the 1950s, Jackson v. Alabama and Naim v. Virginia, the Court skirted the issue and left Pace intact. In 1967, in Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court finally reversed Pace and established a new law of race and marriage throughout the nation. Only in the 1960s, a full century after Emancipation, did the Supreme Court declare statutes against interracial marriage unconstitutional. Only then did the law of slavery and racism defer at last to the law of freedom and racial equality.

The law that the Lovings challenged in the 1960s had its origins in the seventeenth century. In Virginia, slavery and antimiscegenation legislation developed together. In Alabama, by contrast, laws restricting interracial marriage originated only in the 1850s. In both states, such laws reached their fullest development in the years between 1865 and 1883, that is, in the generation after the Civil War and Emancipation. Moreover, in both states the legal definitions of white and non- white shifted in the early twentieth century, such that residents with any discernible African ancestry were classified as nonwhite (something not the case in the nineteenth century).

When the Lovings married each other in 1958, no constitutional challenge to antimiscegenation laws had succeeded in any federal court. The American system of marital Apartheid no longer held sway in many states outside the former Confederacy, but in the South it showed no promise of relinquishing its control. That system had its origins, at least in Virginia, as far back as the 1690s. It had grown more powerful as slavery had. It had continued to grow more powerful into the 1920s and 1930s. As late as the 1950s, efforts to challenge the system in state and federal courts alike in both Alabama and Virginia had come to naught. Yet, the Lovings prevailed in their challenge. This Essay tells the history of the system they challenged and outlines the story of that challenge and its aftermath…

Read the entire article here.

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Law and the Boundaries of Place and Race in Interracial Marriage: Interstate Comity, Racial Identity, and Miscegenation Laws in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, 1860s-1960s

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2012-08-24 21:46Z by Steven

Law and the Boundaries of Place and Race in Interracial Marriage: Interstate Comity, Racial Identity, and Miscegenation Laws in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, 1860s-1960s

Akron Law Review
Volume 32, Number 3 (1999)
pages 557-575

Peter Wallenstein, Professor of History
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

In North Carolina in 1869, Wesley Hairston, a black man, and Puss Williams, a white woman, went on trial in Forsythe County for “fornication and adultery.” They claimed they were married, but the judge instructed the jury that no such marriage could be valid in North Carolina. When the jury convicted both defendants, they appealed the judge’s instruction and the jury’s verdict. The North Carolina Supreme Court dashed their hopes when it declared: “The only question in this case is, whether the intermarriage of whites and blacks is lawful.” A unanimous appeals court rejected the “pretended marriage” and upheld the convictions.

Hairston and Williams did not see their convictions as consistent with the facts. They thought they had both contracted a marriage and found instead that they had each committed a felony. Other couples ran into similar problems. Brought to court, some argued that they had entered a valid marriage and, having moved into another state, they should not be subject to the enforcement of its laws against interracial marriage. Others, challenging the premise that they did not share one racial identity, argued that, since they were both black or both white, the miscegenation law should not reach their marriage.

This essay draws from case materials in three states to explore two of the main problems in enforcing—or escaping conviction under—laws in the United States against interracial marriage during the hundred years after the Civil War. Questions of interstate comity and racial identity, though not both involved in every miscegenation case, would remain issues in many such cases as long as laws against interracial marriage remained in effect. Only in 1967, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Loving v. Virginia and declared such laws unconstitutional, would the boundaries of race and place no longer have any bearing on the law of marriage between a man of one race and a woman of another…

…3. But What Race Is She Really?

In October 1881, John Crawford and Maggie Dancey went on trial for violating South Carolina’s new law against interracial marriage. After courting in North Carolina, they had decided to marry. The couple had heard that North Carolina had a stringent law against their doing so but, believing that South Carolina had no such law, they thought they had a remedy. Crawford moved back south across the state line to his home in York County, and Dancey soon followed from her family’s home in Mooresville, just north of Charlotte. They approached a black preacher, Edward Lindsay, about their wishes, and he assured them that they could marry in South Carolina. The ceremony took place, and their arrests soon followed.

The newlyweds’ marriage did not involve the question of comity, but it definitely involved another thorny issue, the question of racial identity. John Crawford testified that the fair-skinned woman he had married came from a family that, back in her hometown, was regarded as mixed-race. He had seen his wife’s grandmother, a “bright mulatto,” he said. The family attended a black church, associated only with African Americans, and despite their color, seemed to fall on the black side of the great racial divide. The couple’s argument was that, even though Maggie was of “fair complexion,” with “flaxen or light auburn hair and light blue eyes,” she was black just the same as her “dark mulatto” husband. If proved, the couple had not, after all, broken the law.

The fact that the only evidence in the case consisted of the defendants’ own testimony left the court perplexed. Because Maggie Dancey went on trial some distance from her family’s residence, no local witnesses could help the court with testimony regarding the Dancey family’s racial reputation. The judge called upon a white medical doctor, W. J. Whyte, to offer his expert testimony, but the doctor, after a brief examination in the waning light of day, reported the woman’s identity difficult to pin down. The judge held the trial over to the next morning. The doctor tried again but complained that the microscope with which he examined the woman’s hair and skin seemed inadequate to the task. If forced to choose, he held to his original opinion that Maggie Dancey was a white woman, but he could not be certain.

The judge put the matter in the hands of the jury. He told them that if they were unsure, they should resolve their doubt in favor of the woman. After an hour’s deliberation, the jury reported its verdict. Maggie Dancey was white, and John Crawford was not. Both were guilty…

Read the entire article here.

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Loving vs. Virginia in a Post-Racial World: Rethinking Race, Sex, and Marriage

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Gay & Lesbian, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2012-05-28 19:11Z by Steven

Loving vs. Virginia in a Post-Racial World: Rethinking Race, Sex, and Marriage

Cambridge University Press
June 2012
300 pages
Hardback ISBN-13: 9780521198585
Paperback ISBN-13: 9780521147989

Edited by

Kevin Noble Maillard, Professor of Law
Syracuse University

Rose Cuison Villazor, Professor of Law
University of California, Davis

In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were unconstitutional in Loving vs. Virginia. Although this case promotes marital freedom and racial equality, there are still significant legal and social barriers to the free formation of intimate relationships. Marriage continues to be the sole measure of commitment, mixed relationships continue to be rare, and same-sex marriage is only legal in 6 out of 50 states. Most discussion of Loving celebrates the symbolic dismantling of marital discrimination. This book, however, takes a more critical approach to ask how Loving has influenced the “loving” of America. How far have we come since then, and what effect did the case have on individual lives?

Table of Contents

  • Introduction Kevin Noble Maillard and Rose Cuison Villazor
  • Part I: Explaining Loving v. Virginia
    • 1. The legacy of Loving John DeWitt Gregory and Joanna L. Grossman
  • Part II: Historical Antecedents to Loving
    • 2. The ‘love’ of Loving Jason A. Gillmer
    • 3. Loving in Indian territory: tribal miscegenation law in historical perspective Carla Pratt
    • 4. American mestizo: Filipinos and antimiscegenation laws in California Leti Volpp
    • 5. Perez v. Sharp and the limits of Loving: race, marriage, and citizenship reconsidered R. A. Lenhardt
  • Part III: Loving and Interracial Relationships: Contemporary Challenges
    • 6. The road to Loving: the legacy of antimiscegenation law Kevin Noble Maillard
    • 7. Love at the margins: the racialization of sex and the sexualization of race Camille A. Nelson
    • 8. The crime of Loving: Loving, Lawrence, and beyond I. Bennett Capers
    • 9. What’s Loving got to do with it? Law shaping experience and experience shaping law RenĂ©e M. Landers
    • 10. Fear of a ‘Brown’ planet or a new hybrid culture? Jacquelyn Bridgeman
  • Part IV: Considering the Limits of Loving
    • 11. Black pluralism in post-Loving America Taunya Lovell Banks
    • 12. Multiracialism and reparations: accounting for political blackness Angelique Davis
    • 13. Finding a Loving home Angela Onwuachi-Willig and Jacob Willig-Onwuachi
  • Part V: Loving outside the United States Borders
    • 14. Racially inadmissible wives Rose Cuison Villazor
    • 15. Flying buttresses Nancy K. Ota
    • 16. Crossing borders: Loving v. Virginia as a story of migration Victor Romero
  • Part VI: Loving and Beyond: Marriage, Intimacy and Diverse Relationships
    • 17. Black vs. gay: centering LBGT people of color in civil marriage debates Adele Morrison
    • 18. Forty years after Loving: a legacy of unintended consequences Rachel F. Moran
    • 19. The end of marriage Tucker Culbertson
    • 20. Afterword Peter Wallenstein
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Reconstruction, Segregation, and Miscegenation: Interracial Marriage and the Law in the Lower South, 1865-1900

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2010-02-07 02:57Z by Steven

Reconstruction, Segregation, and Miscegenation: Interracial Marriage and the Law in the Lower South, 1865-1900

American Nineteenth Century History
Volume 6, Issue 1
March 2005
pages 57-76
DOI: 10.1080/14664650500121827

Peter Wallenstein, Professor of History
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

On the eve of Congressional Reconstruction, all seven states of the Lower South had laws against interracial marriage. During the Republican interlude that began in 1867-68, six of the seven states (all but Georgia) suspended those laws, whether through judicial invalidation or legislative repeal. Yet by 1894 all six had restored such bans. The trajectory of miscegenation laws in the Lower South between 1865 and 1900 permits a reconsideration of the range of possibilities the Reconstruction era brought to public policy. More than that, it forces a reconsideration of the origins of the Jim Crow South. Legally mandated segregation in public transit, as C. Vann Woodward observed in 1955, took hold late in the century. But such segregation in public education, as Howard R. Rabinowitz pointed out with his formula ‘from exclusion to segregation,’ originated during the first postwar years. Segregation on the marital front – universal at the start of the period and again at the end, but relaxed in most Lower South states for a time in between – combined the two patterns into yet a third. Adding another layer of complexity was the issue of where the color line was located, and thus which individuals were classified on each side of it.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Tell the Court I Love My Wife: Race, Marriage, and Law: An American History

Posted in Books, History, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2010-02-07 02:44Z by Steven

Tell the Court I Love My Wife: Race, Marriage, and Law: An American History

Palgrave Macmillan
2002
336 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 16-page b/w photo insert
ISBN: 978-1-4039-6408-3, ISBN10: 1-4039-6408-4

Peter Wallenstein, Professor of History
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The first in-depth history of miscegenation law in the United States, this book illustrates in vivid detail how states, communities, and the courts have defined and regulated mixed-race marriage from the colonial period to the present. Combining a storyteller’s detail with a historian’s analysis, Peter Wallenstein brings the sagas of Richard and Mildred Loving and countless other interracial couples before them to light in this harrowing history of how individual states had the power to regulate one of the most private aspects of life: marriage.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: “That’s No Good Here”
  • Part I. Abominable Mixture and Spurious Issue
    • Sex, Marriage, Race, and Freedom in the Early Chesapeake
    • Indian Foremothers and Freedom Suits in Revolutionary Virginia
    • From the Chesapeake Colonies to the State of California
    • Race, Marriage, and the Crisis of the Union
  • Part II. Equal Protection of the Laws
    • Post-Civil War Alabama
    • Reconstruction and the Law of Interracial Marriage
    • Accommodating the Law of Freedom of the Law of Race
    • Interracial Marriage and the Federal Courts, 1857-1917
    • Interlude: Polygamy, Incest, Fornication, Cohabitation – and Interracial Marriage
  • Part III. Problem of the Color Line
    • Drawing and Redrawing the Color Line
    • Boundaries – Race and Place in the Law of Marriage
    • Racial Identiy and Family Property
    • Miscegenation Laws, the NAACP, and the Federal Courts, 1941-1963
  • Part IV. A Breakthrough Case in California
    • Contesting the Antimiscegenation Regime – the 1960s
    • Virginia vesus the Lovings – and the Lovings versus Virginia
    • America after Loving v. Virginia
  • Epilogue: The Color of Love after Loving
    • Appendices
    • Permanent Repeal of State Miscegenation Laws, 1780-1967
    • Intermarriage in Nazi Germany and Apartheid South Africa
    • Indentity and Authority: An Interfaith Couple in Israel
    • Transsexuals, Gender Identity, and the Law of Marriage
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