Discrimination on interracial dating

Many decried it as judicial overreach and resisted its implementation for decades.

The case that brought down interracial marriage bans in 16 states centered on the aptly named Richard and Mildred Loving.

Matoaka, better known as Pocahontas, did not wed Captain John Smith as the Disney version of her life implies.

Instead, she married John Rolfe as a condition of release after being held captive by English settlers for more than a year.

This first marriage obtained mythic portions long before Disney remade the story and even shaped Virginia’s laws on interracial marriage.

Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924 codified individuals as white only if they had “no trace whatsoever of any blood other than Caucasian,” except for those who had one-sixteenth or less blood from American Indians—the so-called “Pocahontas exception”—a concession to some elite families who claimed lineage from Rolfe and Pocahontas’s only child.

Editor's Note: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Loving v.

Today, 17 percent of newlyweds and 10 percent of all married couples differ from one another in race or ethnicity.

A 1924 Health Bulletin issued by the state of Virginia to warn white residents of the estimated tens of thousands of “near white people” who should be avoided as “their children are likely to revert to the distinctly negro type even when all apparent evidence of mixture has disappeared.” The state seal featuring an American Indian heads the bulletin, even though someone with more than one-sixteenth American Indian ancestry would not be permitted to marry a white person in that state.

While Rolfe—and his alleged future descendants—won esteem for association with an “Indian princess,” relatively little racial mixing occurred between English settlers and Native Americans.

Today, few would publicly admit to opposing interracial marriage.

In fact, most Americans now claim to celebrate the precepts behind Loving and the case has become an icon of equality and of prejudice transcended.

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