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The Murder of Emmett Till
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Sex and Race

Didn't whites and blacks ever fall in love?

Jane Dailey:
Whites and blacks often fell in love. There are many instances of interracial love affairs and marriages, from the colonial period through emancipation and Jim Crow and on into the present. Perhaps the most famous couple in the modern era are Richard and Mildred Loving, who married in 1958, were arrested for violating Virginia's anti-miscegenation law, and who challenged that law successfully before the Supreme Court. The decision that made restrictions on interracial sex and marriage is thus called, appropriately, Loving v. Virginia!

John David Smith:
Obviously yes. As brutalizing as slavery was, human emotions certainly were involved in interracial sexual partnerships. Too much of the scholarship on this derives from autobiographical and literary accounts. But "love across color lines," as the German scholar Maria Diedrich notes in her recent book, no doubt existed between slaves and masters and complicates a simple narrative of master-slave relationships.

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