Intermarried-Whites in the Cherokee Nation Between the Years 1865 and 1887

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2014-04-09 23:19Z by Steven

Intermarried-Whites in the Cherokee Nation Between the Years 1865 and 1887

Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 6, Number 3 (September, 1928)
pages 299-326

A. H. Murchison
Muskogee, Oklahoma

The Cherokee Indians in all their various treaties with the United States, numbering about twenty, obtained provisions whereby the United States was to exclude intruding white persons from their territory. We find, however, as far back as 1819 in their written laws1 where the Cherokees made provision to take care of and authorize intermarriage. Data concerning the Cherokee Indians concerns Oklahoma and, as a number of the laws under which they lived in Indian Territory were formerly passed in the states of Tennessee and Georgia, it would be interesting to follow their intermarriage laws from the first written in the East to those passed in the West up to about the year 1869.

Several of the old Cherokee Laws and Resolutions start with the words, “Whereas, a law has been in existence for many years, but not committed to writing, that if * * * etc.,” This wording is not prefixed to any of the intermarriage laws and it is reasonable to deduct that prior to 1819 there had been no law on the matter.

This first law passed at “New Town, Cherokee Nation, November 2, 1819” follows:

“RESOLVED BY THE NATIONAL COMMITTEE AND COUNSEL, That any white man who shall hereafter take a Cherokee woman to wife be required to marry her legally by a minister of the gospel or other authorized person, after procuring license from the National Clerk for that purpose, before he shall be entitled and admitted to the privileges of citizenship, and in order to avoid imposition on the part of any white man,

RESOLVED, That any white man who shall marry a Cherokee woman the property of the woman so marry, shall not be subject to the disposal of her

husband, contrary to her consent, and any white man so married and parting from his wife without just provocation, shall forfeit and pay to his wife such sum or sums, as may be adjudged to her by the National Committee and Council for said breach of marriage, and be deprived of citizenship, and it is also resolved, that it shall not be lawful for any white man to have more than one wife, and it is also recommended that all others should also have but one wife hereafter.  By order of the National Committee.

Jno Ross, Pres’t N. Com.
Approved—Path (his x mark) Killer
Chas R. Hicks,
A. McCoy, Clerk.”….

Read the entire article here.

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Miscegenation Law, Court Cases, and Ideologies of “Race” in Twentieth-Century America

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2014-04-09 22:33Z by Steven

Miscegenation Law, Court Cases, and Ideologies of “Race” in Twentieth-Century America

The Journal of American History
Volume 83, Number 1 (June, 1996)
pages 44-69

Peggy Pascoe (1954-2010), Beekman Professor of Northwest and Pacific History
University of Oregon

On March 21, 1921, Joe Kirby took his wife, Mayellen, to court. The Kirbys had been married for seven years, and Joe wanted out. Ignoring the usual option of divorce, he asked for an annulment, charging that his marriage had been invalid from its very beginning because Arizona law prohibited marriages between “persons of Caucasian blood, or their descendants” and “negroes, Mongolians or Indians, and their descendants.” Joe Kirby claimed that while he was “a person of the Caucasian blood,” his wife, Mayellen, was “a person of negro blood.”

Although Joe Kirby’s charges were rooted in a well-established—and tragic—tradition of American miscegenation law, his court case quickly disintegrated into a definitional dispute that bordered on the ridiculous. The first witness in the case was Joe’s mother, Tula Kirby, who gave her testimony in Spanish through an interpreter. Joe’s lawyer laid out the case by asking Tula Kirby a few seemingly simple questions:

Joe’s lawyer: To what race do you belong?
Tula Kirby: Mexican.
Joe’s lawyer: Are you white or have you Indian blood?
Kirby: I have no Indian blood.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Joe’s lawyer: Do you know the defendant [Mayellen] Kirby?
Kirby: Yes.

Joe’s lawyer: To what race does she belong?
Kirby: Negro.

Then the cross-examination began.

Mayelien’s lawyer: Who was your father?
Kirby: Jose Romero.
Mayelien’s lawyer: Was he a Spaniard?
Kirby: Yes, a Mexican.
Mayellen’s lawyer: Was he born in Spain?
Kirby: No, he was born in Sonora.
Mayellen’s lawyer: And who was your mother?
Kirby: Also in Sonora.
Mayellen’s lawyer: Was she a Spaniard?
Kirby: She was on her fathers side.
Mayelien’s lawyer: And what on her mother’s side?
Kirby: Mexican.
Mayellen’s lawyer: What do you mean by Mexican, Indian, a native [?]
Kirby: I don’t know what is meant by Mexican.
Mayellen’s lawyer: A native of Mexico?
Kirby: Yes, Sonora, all of us.
Mayellen’s lawyer: Who was your grandfather on your father’s side?
Kirby: He was a Spaniard.
Mayellen’s lawyer: Who was he?
Kirby: His name was Ignacio Quevas.
Mayellen’s lawyer: Where was he born?
Kirby: That I don’t know. He was my grandfather.
Mayellen’s lawyer: How do you know he was a [S]paniard then?
Kirby: Because he told me ever since I had knowledge that he was a Spaniard.

Next the questioning turned to Tula’s opinion about Mayellen Kirby’s racial identity.

Mayellen’s lawyer: You said Mrs. [Mayellen] Kirby was a negress. What do you know about Mrs. Kirby’s family?
Kirby: I distinguish her by her color and the hair; that is all I do know.

The second witness in the trial was Joe Kirby, and by the time he took the stand, the people in the courtroom knew they were in murky waters. When Joe’s lawyer opened with the question “What race do you belong to?,” Joe answered “Well . . . ,” and paused, while Mayellen’s lawyer objected to the question on the ground that it called for a conclusion by the witness. “Oh, no,” said the judge, “it is a matter of pedigree.” Eventually allowed to answer the question, Joe said, “I belong to the white race I suppose.” Under cross-examination, he described his father as having been of the “Irish race,” although he admitted, “I never knew any one of his people.”

Stopping at the brink of this morass, Joe’s lawyer rested his case. He told the judge he had established that Joe was “Caucasian.” Mayellen’s lawyer scoffed, claiming that Joe had “failed utterly to prove his case” and arguing that “[Joe's] mother has admitted that. She has [testified] that she only claims a quarter Spanish blood; the rest of it is native blood.” At this point the court intervened. “I know,” said the judge, “but that does not signify anything.”

From the Decline and Fall of Scientific Racism to an Understanding of Modernist Racial Ideology

The Kirbys’ case offers a fine illustration of Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham’s observation that, although most Americans are sure they know “race” when they see it, very few can offer a definition of the term. Partly for this reason, the questions of what “race” signifies and what signifies “race” are as important for scholars today as they were for the participants in Kirby v. Kirby seventy-five years ago. Historians have a long—and recently a distinguished—record of exploring this question. Beginning in the 1960s, one notable group charted the rise and fall of scientific racism among American intellectuals. Today, their successors, more likely to be schooled in social than intellectual history, trace the social construction of racial ideologies, including the idea of “whiteness,” in a steadily expanding range of contexts.

Their work has taught us a great deal about racial thinking in American history.  We can trace the growth of racism among antebellum immigrant workers and free-soil northern Republicans; we can measure its breadth in late-nineteenth-century segregation and the immigration policies of the 1920s. We can follow the rise of Anglo-Saxonism from Manifest Destiny through the Spanish-American War and expose the appeals to white supremacy in woman suffrage speeches. We can relate all these developments (and more) to the growth and elaboration of scientific racist attempts to use biological characteristics to scout for racial hierarchies in social life, levels of civilization, even language.

Yet the range and richness of these studies all but end with the 1920s. In contrast to historians of the nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century United States, historians of the nation in the mid- to late-twentieth century seem to focus on racial ideologies only when they are advanced by the far Right (as in the Ku Klux Klan) or by racialized groups themselves (as in the Harlem Renaissance or black nationalist movements). To the extent that there is a framework for surveying mainstream twentieth-century American racial ideologies, it is inherited from the classic histories that tell of the post-1920s decline and fall of scientific racism. Their final pages link the demise of scientific racism to the rise of a vanguard of social scientists led by the cultural anthropologist Franz Boas: when modern social science emerges, racism runs out of intellectual steam. In the absence of any other narrative, this forms the basis for a commonly held but rarely examined intellectual trickle-down theory in which the attack on scientific racism emerges in universities in the 1920s and eventually, if belatedly, spreads to courts in the 1940s and 1950s and to government policy in the 1960s and 1970s.

A close look at such incidents as the Kirby case, however, suggests a rather different historical trajectory, one that recognizes that the legal system does more than just reflect social or scientific ideas about race; it also produces and reproduces them. By following a trail marked by four miscegenation cases —the seemingly ordinary Kirby v. Kirby (1922) and Estate of Monks (1941) and the path breaking Perez v. Lippold (1948) and Loving v. Virginia (1967)—this article will examine the relation between modern social science, miscegenation law, and twentieth-century American racial ideologies, focusing less on the decline of scientific racism and more on the emergence of new racial ideologies.

In exploring these issues, it helps to understand that the range of nineteenth- century racial ideologies was much broader than scientific racism. Accordingly, I have chosen to use the term racialism to designate an ideological complex that other historians often describe with the terms “race” or “racist.” I intend the term racialism to be broad enough to cover a wide range of nineteenth-century ideas, from the biologically marked categories scientific racists employed to the more amorphous ideas George M. Fredrickson has so aptly called ‘romantic racialism.” Used in this way, “racialism” helps counter the tendency of twentieth-century observers to perceive nineteenth-century ideas as biologically “determinist” in some simple sense. To racialists (including scientific racists), the important point was not that biology determined culture (indeed, the split between the two was only dimly perceived), but that race, understood as an indivisible essence that included not only biology but also culture, morality, and intelligence, was a compellingly significant factor in history and society.

My argument is this: During the 1920s, American racialism was challenged by several emerging ideologies, all of which depended on a modern split between biology and culture. Between the 1920s and the 1960s, those competing ideologies were winnowed down to the single, powerfully persuasive belief that the eradication of racism depends on the deliberate non-recognition of race. I will call that belief modernist racial ideology to echo the self-conscious “modernism” of social scientists, writers, artists, and cultural rebels of the early twentieth century. When historians mention this phenomenon, they usually label it “antiracist” or “egalitarian” and describe it as in stark contrast to the “racism” of its predecessors. But in the new legal scholarship called critical race theory, this same ideology, usually referred to as “color blindness,” is criticized by those who recognize that it, like other racial ideologies, can be turned to the service of oppression.

Modernist racial ideology has been widely accepted; indeed, it compels nearly as much adherence in the late-twentieth-century United States as racialism did in the late nineteenth century. It is therefore important to see it not as what it claims to be—the non-ideological end of racism—but as a racial ideology of its own, whose history shapes many of today’s arguments about the meaning of race in American society…

Read the entire article here.

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Race, Descent, and Tribal Citizenship

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2014-04-09 18:12Z by Steven

Race, Descent, and Tribal Citizenship

California Law Review Circuit
Volume 4 (April 2013)
pages 23-47

Bethany R. Berger, Thomas F. Gallivan, Jr. Professor of Real Property Law
University of Connecticut

What is the relationship between descent-based tribal citizenship requirements and race or racism? This essay argues that tribal citizenship laws that require Indian or tribal descent are generally neither the product nor the source of racism in federal Indian law and policy. And while descent does affect multiple areas of federal Indian law and policy, citizenship requirements do not drive many of them. Descent as used in tribal citizenship criteria, moreover, only has a tenuous connection to race as it is commonly understood. More importantly, recognizing governmental authority in tribes that use descent-based citizenship criteria does not violate either federal law or federal norms.

This is a big topic, one this essay cannot fully explore. In part this is because questions of race and descent do not just influence tribal citizenship criteria, but also many areas of federal Indian law and policy. To illustrate this point, I begin this essay in a somewhat counterintuitive place, with the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Three out of five Native women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. One third of all Native women will be raped, more than twice the national average. Sixty-three percent of these assaults and sixty-seven percent of these rapes are at the hands of non-Native perpetrators. This is a reversal of the pattern for most other races, where the race of the survivor and perpetrator is typically the same.

But in 1978, the Supreme Court decreed that tribes had no criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians committing crimes in their territory. Later decisions deprived tribes of much civil jurisdiction as well. The results were that tribes could not impose criminal penalties on non-Indian abusers, and some tribal governments would not even enter civil orders because of the uncertainty of tribal civil jurisdiction; when civil orders were entered, some state and federal courts refused to enforce them. Amnesty International found that the lack of jurisdiction over non-Indians helped create a culture of impunity for perpetrators of violence against women in Indian country.

When the authors of the bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act proposed affirming tribal criminal and civil jurisdiction over anyone, Indian or non-Indian, who commits domestic violence against an Indian in Indian country, both women’s advocates and tribes celebrated. A group of congressional Republicans, however, argued that it was unconstitutional for tribes to exercise jurisdiction over “any American”—i.e., non-Indian Americans. Their objections were made in the name of racial equality. Senator Jon Kyl, for example, declared that “by subjecting individuals to the criminal jurisdiction of a government from which they are excluded on account of race,” the bill violated the Due Process and the Equal Protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

At the same time, a situation in which only tribes cannot exercise local jurisdiction over all domestic violence problems in their territory, and only Indian women abused by non-Indians are excluded by this lack of jurisdiction, also appears to be one of racial disparity. Responding to congressional opponents of the bill, Representative Darrell Issa of California called the “current law a clear discrimination between two residents of the reservation simply based on race.”

Objections to tribal courts trying non-Indian men for beating Indian women led to a nine-month delay in reauthorizing VAWA. Efforts to strip the provision from the bill, along with provisions seeking to ensure protection for LGBT and immigrant victims, failed in the Senate but succeeded in the House last May. After more coalition building, advocacy, removal of additional visas for undocumented immigrants, and the November 2012 elections, the bill passed the Senate by 78-to-22 on February 12, 2013. Finally, on February 28, the bill passed the House, with 87 Republicans joining all but one Democrat to vote in favor.

This story reveals some of the multiple and contested roles that race, descent, and tribal citizenship play in Indian country. As examined in recent important work by Sarah Krakoff and Addie Rolnick, Indian status is with race, because modern Indian status is forged by the often racist efforts to deal with and contain the political sovereignty of indigenous peoples. The continued reliance by tribes on descent to define their political boundaries, however, is not the source of this racialization. While specific citizenship choices may be motivated by ignoble goals, the reliance on descent in general comes from efforts to maintain political continuity and cohesion in the face of persistent and racist efforts to destroy tribes. Neither federal constitutional law nor international norms prevent descent-based citizenship criteria or recognition of territorial sovereignty in tribes that employ them.

This essay proceeds in three parts. First, it highlights the common misunderstandings associated with the relationship between race, descent, and Indian status. Second, it outlines the many contrasting relationships between race, descent, membership, and Indian law, showing that tribal citizenship criteria frequently do not drive these relationships, and are not the source of racism against Indians or tribes. Finally, this essay addresses and rejects challenges that federal Indian law and tribal citizenship criteria are racist, illegal, or immoral because of the role of descent…

Read the entire article here.

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Regulating White Desire

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2014-04-08 21:55Z by Steven

Regulating White Desire

Wisconsin Law Review
Volume 2007, Number 2 (2007)
pages 463-488

Reginald Oh, Professor of Law
Cleveland Marshall College of Law
Cleveland State University

  • Introduction
  • II. Loving v. Virginia
  • III. The Greatest Threat to the Purity of the White Race: Social Equality Through Interracial Marriage
  • IV. Miscegenation and Segregation Laws and the Legal Enforcement of White Racial Endogamy
    • A. The Enforcement of White Endogamy Norms During and After Slavery
    • B. White Racial Endogamy and the Segregation of Public Schools
    • C. The Regulation of White Women’s Desires
  • V. Back to Loving
  • VI. Conclusion

I. INTRODUCTION

In the landmark decision Loving v. Virginia, the United States Supreme Court held that laws prohibiting interracial marriages violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause because they served the impermissible purpose of maintaining white supremacy. The Commonwealth of Virginia had argued that, because the law equally punished whites and blacks, it did not illegitimately single out African Americans for discriminatory treatment. In striking down the statute, the Court rejected the notion that the equal application of miscegenation laws made them consistent with equal protection.

The Court, however, never adequately addressed an apparent flaw in its reasoning. According to conventional understandings of how white supremacy operates, laws promoting white supremacy are supposed to invidiously discriminate against blacks while benefiting whites. But how can miscegenation laws promote white supremacy and the interests of whites if the laws actually restrict their fundamental right of association and punish them if they cross racial boundaries? Was the Court contending that miscegenation laws promoted white supremacy in spite of their incidental effects on the individual rights of whites?

This Article will argue that miscegenation laws functioned to promote the supremacy of the white race by, paradoxically, deliberately regulating and restricting the liberty of white individuals. Segregationists feared that some whites, particularly women and children, wanted to relate to blacks as social equals. Without legal restrictions on the associational rights of whites, segregationists feared that blacks would gain social equality and freely enter into equal intimate relations—and ultimately marriages—with them. This would result in more interracial families, and inevitably end in the creation of a nation of a “mongrel breed of citizens.”

This Article contends that segregationist justifications for miscegenation and segregation laws shows that those laws effectively imposed a legal duty on whites to adhere to cultural norms of endogamy.  Dominant social groups enforce rules of endogamy—the cultural practice of encouraging people to marry within their own social group—to protect the dominant status of their individual members and of the social group in general. Thus, laws prohibiting interracial marriages regulated white desire in order to protect the dominant status of whites as a group. The Loving Court, therefore, ultimately was correct in declaring that miscegenation laws denied blacks equal protection.

Part II of this Article discusses miscegenation laws and the Loving decision. It contends that the Court understood that miscegenation laws operated to protect white supremacy, but that it failed to adequately explain how such laws did so. Part III argues that the primary rationale used to justify these laws was the protection of the purity of the white race. Part IV will explain these laws’ history and demonstrate that segregationists enacted and supported them to ensure that whites practiced endogamy. Part V concludes by reexamining the Loving decision in light of this Article’s analysis…

Read the entire article here.

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Making the Modern Family: Interracial Intimacy and the Social Production of Whiteness

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-04-07 03:39Z by Steven

Making the Modern Family: Interracial Intimacy and the Social Production of Whiteness

Harvard Law Review
Volume 127, Issue 5 (2014-03-17)
pages 1341-1394

Camille Gear Rich, Associate Professor of Law
Gould School of Law
University of Southern California

According to Our Hearts: Rhinelander v. Rhinelander and the Law of the Multiracial Family. By Angela Onwuachi-Willig. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. 2013. Pp. 325.

Angela Onwuachi-Willig’s provocative book According to Our Hearts: Rhinelander v. Rhinelander and the Law of the Multiracial Family seems tailor-made for the current cultural moment. The book arrives on the heels of the reelection of our first mixed-race President. It arrives in the midst of a media blitz that favorably presents mixedrace couples on a routine basis, making the multiracial family seem a normal, even pedestrian occurrence. Indeed, in 2012 the cultural embrace of the interracial family seemed complete when Modern Family was chosen as the top sitcom in the United States. The program centers on the Dunphy-Pritchetts, an interracial, gay-tolerant family, seemingly progressive in all dimensions. Onwuachi-Willig’s new book, however, boldly challenges the contemporary claim that interracial families are now an accepted and celebrated part of the American polity. The author instead painstakingly reveals that the world still subjects the interracial family to insult and inferior treatment that the law fails to address and, further, that the acceptance of interracial couples in contemporary popular culture is far more partial, conditional, and ambivalent than it might initially seem.

One need look no further than the program Modern Family itself to find evidence of America’s continuing anxiety about interracial unions. While fans of the program know the cast of characters well, the program’s viewers most likely have not fully apprehended the program’s cultural commitments and underlying political ambitions. The core characters of Modern Family are members of a white nuclear family, Claire and Phil Dunphy and their three children. This couple’s 1950s-style Dick and Jane union stands alongside the May-December romance of Claire’s white father, Jay Pritchett, who, having separated from Claire’s white mother, has married Gloria, a fiery Latina from Colombia. Jay has also functionally adopted Manny, Gloria’s Latino son. The family clan is complete when we are introduced to Claire’s brother, Mitchell Pritchett, a white gay man who has coupled with another white gay man, Cameron, and adopted Lily, a Vietnamese child. The not-so-silent political subtext that informs this current cultural favorite is that the era of interraciality has ended and the postracial future has arrived. Indeed, in the world of Modern Family, “interraciality,” the term Onwuachi-Willig uses to describe the discrimination aimed at mixed-race couples in American society, is a relic of the past. The program further reassures its viewers that the white nuclear family will not be threatened by this new post-racial future, a time when whites casually form intimate family relationships with people of color. For Modern Family is treacle-coated reassurance that in these new “modern families,” interracial parenting and interracial marriage will simply mimic the dynamics of the white nuclear family in its original form.

Close analysis of Modern Family further demonstrates that, despite the seeming cultural celebration of interracial families, the racial acceptance offered in the program is surprisingly partial. One major racial group is left out of the Dunphy-Pritchett clan’s seemingly capacious diversity circle — blacks. Indeed, in the Dunphy-Pritchett family, white parents eagerly reach out to care for Latino, Asian, and mixed-race children, but there are no black children in the family. Over the course of each season we occasionally see black friends, or black neighbors, but there is no sign that any black person has ever been invited into the Dunphy-Pritchett marital bed. One wonders, why did the producers’ willingness to represent interracial intimacy stop with blacks? According to Our Hearts provides an answer. Onwuachi-Willig explains that black-white romantic dyads and the mixed-race families they produce are particularly anxiety provoking in the United States and, as a consequence, are typically erased and rendered culturally invisible (p. 18). She further argues that this invisibility hides the fact that black-white families suffer under a unique form of hostility and disadvantage (p. 9). By charting these black-white couples’ experiences and using them in a “miner’s canary” analysis to assess race relations, she argues, we learn just how long racism and fear of interracial intimacy have endured (p. 122)…

…Indeed, history shows that the interracial family historically has been an institution that assimilated ethnic or racial differences to whiteness and therefore did not disturb the existing racial status hierarchy. Ethnic whites that immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s, including Germans and Northern Europeans, intermarried with “American” or British whites as a way of being absorbed into the larger category of privileged white persons. A second wave of immigrant intermarriage expanded the category of whiteness again in the 1950s and 1960s, when Italians and other Southern Europeans were added to the category of whiteness. Today we are experiencing a third wave in this expansion as sections of the Asian and Latino communities have gained sufficient social status that they are being accepted as suitable marriage partners by privileged whites today. In many cases, whites appear willing to treat Asian or Latino background, particularly for mixed-race persons, as a kind of “ethnic” rather than racial difference. Professor Charles Gallagher refers to this dynamic, in which racialized or subordinated ethnic groups are granted status equal to whiteness, as “racial redistricting.”

Given the subtle and sophisticated nature of Onwuachi-Willig’s account of the interracial family, it is surprising that she does not cover the potentially racially regressive role the interracial family can play in contemporary race relations. However, this oversight may be a consequence of methodological choices she makes in her study. First, Onwuachi-Willig opts to make the black-white multiracial family the paradigmatic case that guides her understanding of interraciality (p. 122), and an assimilation focus is not as common in black-white families. Sociologists have suggested that assimilation messages are not as common because phenotypic differences prevent many children in black-white mixed-race families from assimilating to whiteness easily. However, there is some evidence that even black-white interracial families use these unions as a path for their children into whiteness when possible. Second, sampling bias may account for the problem. Onwuachi-Willig uses an approach called convenience sampling in her account. Specifically, she collects stories from former volunteers and acquaintances made through friends (pp. 8–10); understandably these like-minded individuals were more likely to share her progressive vision. Those who were not like-minded, for obvious reasons, would likely opt not to participate in a study of interraciality-based discrimination. Members of interracial couples who could see their children easily transitioning to a white identity or a transcendent raceless identity would be less interested in exploring the unique forms of discrimination faced by interracial couples.

Despite these problems, in my view, Onwuachi-Willig’s account of the interracial family provides a much-needed starting point for persons interested in theorizing about the relationship between family formation and racial formation. However, some supplementation of her account is required in order to fully address the interracial family’s tutelary role or its role as a site of racial messaging. Part B further explores these roles, concentrating on families that appear to be committed to assimilating their members to whiteness and therefore are treated as reinforcing existing racial status hierarchy in the United States…

Read the entire review here.

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An Act to Prevent Amalgamation with Colored Persons

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2014-04-06 17:32Z by Steven

An Act to Prevent Amalgamation with Colored Persons

Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 6, No. 2 (June, 1928)
Interesting Ante-bellum Laws of the Cherokees, Now Oklahoma History
page 179

James W. Duncan
Tahlequah, Oklahoma

Be it enacted by the National Council, that intermarriage shall not be lawful between a free male or female citizen with any person of color, and the same is hereby prohibited, under the penalty of such corporal punishment as the courts may deem it necessary and proper to inflict, and which shall not exceed fifty stripes for every such offense.

Tahlequah, September 19, 1839.

John Ross, Principal Chief

Approved.

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Bill to recognize Nansemonds passes committee

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Virginia on 2014-04-04 20:54Z by Steven

Bill to recognize Nansemonds passes committee

Suffolk News-Herald
Suffolk, Virginia
2014-04-02

A bill that would extend federal recognition to the Nansemond Indian Tribe and five others in Virginia passed the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

The tribes, which also include the Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Upper Mattaponi, Rappahannock and Monacan, are officially recognized by the state but not by the federal government.

“I just hope we can finally get there,” Nansemond Indian Tribal Association Chief Barry Bass said on Thursday. “It’s been a long, hard road.”

The bill has passed the Senate Indian Affairs Committee before, but a vote in the full Senate has been blocked by senators who believe the tribes should have to go through the Bureau of Indian Affairs as other tribes have done.

But recognition through the bureau’s administrative process requires documentation that current tribal members have a continuous line of descent from the historical tribes. That has been difficult, if not impossible, for Virginia Indians to prove, in part because of Walter Plecker, who was the registrar of Virginia’s Bureau of Vital Statistics from 1912 to 1946. He replaced “Indian” with “black” for the race on many birth and death certificates that passed through his office, ensuring that no official documentation exists for many tribal members to prove their relationship to ancestors…

Read the entire article here.

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Daughter of the Empire State: The Life of Judge Jane Bolin

Posted in Biography, Books, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2014-03-30 14:58Z by Steven

Daughter of the Empire State: The Life of Judge Jane Bolin

University of Illinois Press
December 2011
168 pages
6 x 9 in.
4 black & white photographs
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-252-03657-6
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-252-09361-6

Jacqueline A. McLeod, Associate Professor of History and African & African American Studies
Metropolitan State College of Denver

The trailblazing work of the first African American woman judge

This long overdue biography of the nation’s first African American woman judge elevates Jane Matilda Bolin to her rightful place in American history as an activist, integrationist, jurist, and outspoken public figure in the political and professional milieu of New York City before the onset of the modern Civil Rights movement.

Bolin was appointed to New York City’s domestic relations court in 1939 for the first of four ten-year terms. When she retired in 1978, her career had extended well beyond the courtroom. Drawing on archival materials as well as a meeting with Bolin in 2002, historian Jacqueline A. McLeod reveals how Bolin parlayed her judicial position to impact significant reforms of the legal and social service system in New York.

Beginning with Bolin’s childhood and educational experiences at Wellesley and Yale, Daughter of the Empire State chronicles Bolin’s relatively quick rise through the ranks of a profession that routinely excluded both women and African Americans. Deftly situating Bolin’s experiences within the history of black women lawyers and the historical context of high-achieving black New Englanders, McLeod offers a multi-layered analysis of black women’s professionalization in a segregated America.

Linking Bolin’s activist leanings and integrationist zeal to her involvement in the NAACP, McLeod analyzes Bolin’s involvement at the local level as well as her tenure on the organization’s national board of directors. An outspoken critic of the discriminatory practices of New York City’s probation department and juvenile placement facilities, Bolin also co-founded, with Eleanor Roosevelt, the Wiltwyck School for boys in upstate New York and campaigned to transform the Domestic Relations Court with her judicial colleagues. McLeod’s careful and highly readable account of these accomplishments inscribes Bolin onto the roster of important social reformers and early civil rights trailblazers.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. Her Standing in Poughkeepsie: Family Lineage and Legacy
  • 2. On Her Own: The Years at Wellesley and Yale
  • 3. Politics of Preparation: The Making of the Nation’s First African American Woman Judge
  • 4. Politics of Practice: An African American Woman Judge on the Domestic Relations Court
  • 5. Speaking Truth to Power: A View from the Benchof Judge Jane Bolin
  • 6. Persona Non Grata: Jane Bolin and the NAACP, 1931–50
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Index
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Jane Bolin, the Country’s First Black Woman to Become a Judge, Is Dead at 98

Posted in Articles, Biography, Law, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2014-03-26 20:10Z by Steven

Jane Bolin, the Country’s First Black Woman to Become a Judge, Is Dead at 98

The New York Times
2007-01-10

Douglas Martin

Jane Bolin, whose appointment as a family court judge by Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia in 1939 made her the first black woman in the United States to become a judge, died on Monday in Queens. She was 98 and lived in Long Island City, Queens.

Her death was announced by her son, Yorke B. Mizelle.

Judge Bolin was the first black woman to graduate from Yale Law School, the first to join the New York City Bar Association, and the first to work in the office of the New York City corporation counsel, the city’s legal department.

In January 1979, when Judge Bolin had reluctantly retired after 40 years as a judge, Constance Baker Motley, a black woman and a federal judge, called her a role model.

In her speech, Judge Motley said, “When I thereafter met you, I then knew how a lady judge should comport herself.”.

The “lady judge” was frequently in the news at the time of her appointment with accounts of her regal bearing, fashionable hats and pearls. But her achievements transcended being a shining example. As a family court judge, she ended the assignment of probation officers on the basis of race and the placement of children in child-care agencies on the basis of ethnic background.

Jane Matilda Bolin was born on April 11, 1908, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Her father, Gaius C. Bolin, was the son of an American Indian woman and an African-American man. Her mother, the former Matilda Emery, was a white Englishwoman…

Read the entire obituary here.

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The Strategies of Forbidden Love: Family across Racial Boundaries in Nineteenth-Century North Carolina

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2014-03-02 04:05Z by Steven

The Strategies of Forbidden Love: Family across Racial Boundaries in Nineteenth-Century North Carolina

Journal of Social History
Volume 47, Issue 3 (Spring 2014)
pages 612-626
DOI: 10.1093/jsh/sht112

Warren E. Milteer Jr.

This article contends that although local beliefs and legal edicts attempted to discourage sexual and familial relationships between women of color and white men in North Carolina, free women of mixed ancestry and white men developed relationships that mimicked legally-sanctioned marriages. These unions often produced children who maintained frequent interaction with both parents. In nineteenth-century Hertford County, North Carolina, free women of mixed ancestry and their white partners developed creative strategies to deal with the legal limitations inherent in their situation. Women and men in these relationships found ways to secure property rights for women and children and developed methods to prevent legal scrutiny of their living arrangements.

Read or purchase the article here.

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