Mixed Breeds Are Not Negroes and May Mingle With Whites

Mixed Breeds Are Not Negroes and May Mingle With Whites

The Weekly Messenger
St. Martinville, Louisiana
page 3, column 2
Source: Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

The Daily Picayune

The Supreme Court of Louisiana by a vote of three to two, Justices Nicholls and Land dissenting, has decided that the state law prohibiting concubinage between the races in Louisiana affects only pure-blooded whites and pure-blooded blacks. Where either party is of mixed blood there is no prohibition under the law. It follows under this decision that were persons are charged with concubinage, and either pleads in defense that he or she is of mixed blood, which would bar prosecution, it will be incumbent on the state to prove the purity of the race, a problem vast more difficult than the proving of race mixture.

Justice Land, in his dissenting opinion, declares that under the decision of the court, the Gay-Shattuck law, which forbid whites and negroes to be served with liquors at the same bar, can apply to whites and blacks, and the prohibition does not extend to mulattoes to griffes, who are the offspring of negroes and mulattoes, and they have a right to be served at the same bars and tables with whites. Obviously between whites and griffes is entirely lawful under the decision of the court. Justice Land takes occasion to express bit gratification that the Legislators of Louisiana will be in session in the course of a few days and indulges the hope that the limitations imposed in these laws, which seek to distinguish between the races, will so define and establish the distinguishing terms as that nothing will be left to interference or conjecture.

It is inevitable that confusion must occur when the law forbidding the inter marriage of the races makes use of the terms “white” and “colored” while the statute prohibiting concubinage employs the distinctions “white” and “negro.” There seems to be no agreement by the lexicographers in the matter of distinctions. Webster, edition of 1910, use “negro” and “colored” indifferently, and the Century, while defining the negro race according to specific physical characteristics, uses the word “colored” with apparent indifference, as does also the Standard Dictionary. There are more negroes in the Southern part of the United States than in any other country on the globe which has a propendorating white population, and here, in all political and social distinctions, the negros and the mixed blood have always been reckoned together, and if these conditions are to be changed there should be fixed and definite terms by which these new conditions are to be established, and not left to the inferences and conjectures of a judicial tribunal, do matter how able and learned in the law its members.

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