What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America

What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America

Oxford University Press
December 2008
404 pages
ISBN13: 9780195094633
ISBN10: 0195094638

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

  • Winner of the Ellis W. Hawley Prize of the Organization of American Historians (2009)
  • Winner of the Lawrence W. Levine Award of the Organization of American Historians (2009)
  • Winner of the William H. Dunning Prize of the American Historical Association
  • Winner of the James Willard Hurst Prize of the Law and Society Association
  • Winner of the Joan Kelly Memorial Prize of the American Historical Association
  • Finalist, John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association

A long-awaited history that promises to dramatically change our understanding of race in America, What Comes Naturally traces the origins, spread, and demise of miscegenation laws in the United States–laws that banned interracial marriage and sex, most often between whites and members of other races. Peggy Pascoe demonstrates how these laws were enacted and applied not just in the South but throughout most of the country, in the West, the North, and the Midwest.┬á Beginning in the Reconstruction era, when the term miscegenation first was coined, she traces the creation of a racial hierarchy that bolstered white supremacy and banned the marriage of Whites to Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, and American Indians as well as the marriage of Whites to Blacks.┬á She ends not simply with the landmark 1967 case of Loving v. Virginia, in which the Supreme Court finally struck down miscegenation laws throughout the country, but looks at the implications of ideas of colorblindness that replaced them. What Comes Naturally is both accessible to the general reader and informative to the specialist, a rare feat for an original work of history based on archival research.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Part I: Miscegenation Law and Constitutional Equality, 1863-1883
    • 1. Engendering Miscegenation
    • 2. Sexualizing Miscegenation Law
  • Part II: Miscegenation Law and Race Classification, 1860-1948
    • 3. Configuring Race in the American West
    • 4. The Facts of Race in the Courtroom
    • 5. Seeing Like a Racial State
  • Part III: Miscegenation Law and Its Opponents, 1913-1967
    • 6. Between a Rock and a Hard Place
    • 7. Interracial Marriage as a Natural Right
    • 8. Interracial Marriage as a Civil Right
  • Part IV: Miscegenation Law, Civil Rights, and Colorblindness, 1964-2000
    • 9. Lionizing Loving
    • Conclusion: The Ghost of the Past
Tags: , ,