Answer: Interracial marriage became legal in all 50 American states in 1998
when South Carolina voted to permit it.
The first black slaves landed in Virginia in 1619. In 1630 an angry Virginia
court sentenced "Hugh Davis to be soundly whipped, before an assembly of
Negroes and others for abusing himself to the dishonor of God and the shame of
Christians, by defiling his body in lying with a Negro." Maryland was the
first state to ban interracial marriages in 1664. Jefferson's state, Virginia,
prohibited all interracial liaisons in 1691, vigorously denouncing
miscegenation and its fruits as "that abominable mixture and spurious issue."
More recently, some 45 percent of all white Americans surveyed in 1994 said
that they "approve" of intermarriage --an all-time high-- but most still
express some reservations about it, and 16 percent would ban it outright.
The last state to legalize interracial marriage was South Carolina in November
1998. It amended its constitution to repeal a clause banning "marriage of a
white person with a Negro or mulatto or a person who shall have one-eighth or
more of Negro blood." The clause is, of course, a dead letter, and has been
ever since 1967 when the Supreme Court found anti-miscegenation laws to be
unconstitutional. In that November 1998 vote, 62 percent of South Carolinians
voted to permit interracial marriage; 38 percent voted to keep it illegal.
Explore the "Mixed Race America" section of this site.
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