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  Vernellia R. Randall
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The University of Dayton
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Interracial Marriages and the Effects on Children
Annotated Bibliography
Nacy John Alouise
The University of Dayton School of Law
Spring 1998

This annotated bibliography will attempt to overview the history of interracial marriages and the children born out of such relationships. More specifically it will focus on how these marriages have affected the children throughout history and the effects interracial marriages have on children. The Supreme Court case, which directly speaks to this topic, is Loving v. Virginia. In 1958 Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter married in Washington, D.C. and returned to Virginia together as husband and wife. Richard was White and Mildred was Black. The problem arose in that since 1961 Virginia banned interracial marriages. The Lovings were prosecuted under a statute enacted in 1924 entitled "An Act to Preserve Racial Integrity."1 The statute said that in Virginia no White person could marry anyone other than a white person.2 The law made it a crime not only to enter into an interracial marriage in the State of Virginia, but it also criminalized interracial marriages outside the state with the intent of evading Virginia's prohibition.3 Furthermore the law stated that children born out of such a union were deemed in the eyes of the State to be illegitimate and without the protections and privileges accorded to the children of lawfully wedded parents. 

The Lovings pleaded guilty to violating the Act and were sentenced to one year in jail, though the trial judge gave them the option of avoiding incarceration on the condition they leave the State and not return for twenty-five years.4 During the course of the proceeding the trial judge asserted that: "Almighty God created the races of White, Black, Yellow, Malay, and Red, and He placed them on separate continents." "And but for the interference with His arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages." "The fact that He separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."5 

After Virginia's Supreme Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction the Supreme Court of the United States reversed the decision on the grounds that the Constitution of the United States prohibits states from barring interracial marriages. In so doing, the Supreme Court invalidated similar laws in fifteen States. Thus, as of June 12, 1967, interracial marriages were no loner illegal in any State. 

We are now approaching the 31st year of the Loving decision and views on interracial marriage have improved. In 1991 a Gallop Poll found that, for the first time, more people in the United States approved of interracial marriages (48%) then disapproved (42%).6 Also the number of interracially married couples in the United States has gone from 150,000 couples in 1970 to 1.1 million in 1994 and the number of children born out of interracial marriages jumped from 460,300 in 1970 to 1.9 million in 1994.7 Furthermore, a Gallop Poll indicates acceptance for interracial marriages is growing. Sixty-one percent of White Americans are more likely to approve of such marriages today, compared to 4% in 1958.8 In addition, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in fifty marriages are interracial which is four times the number compared to 1970.9 

Interracial marriages can include the union of Asians, Hispanics, Blacks, Whites, and any other group. However, when people talk about race relations, the focus is on Blacks and Whites. No matter what ethnic groups are involved, one major result of these marriages are children. After reviewing this material and reading the associated articles, the reader should have a strong understanding of the issues surrounding children of interracial marriages, and the problems parents encounter with their mixed race children. In addition, the reader should have a better understanding of the history of interracial marriages. 

Children from interracial marriages are no longer denied the same benefits and privileges as the children prior to Loving. Celebrities like Tiger Woods may have changed society's views on interracial children, but are there more serious effects on these children than what is shown by Tiger Woods? These effects and the history of interracial marriages will be the focus of this annotated bibliography. 

The following articles are included in this bibliography:

American Wedding: Same-Sex Marriage and the Miscegenation Analogy, 73 B.U. L. rev. 93 (1993). 

Children, Multiracial Couples (1995). 

Children in Interracial Homes, Marriage Across the Color Line (1965). 

Children of Black and White Marriages, Black and White Mixed Marriages (1978). 

Children of Interracial Marriages, Interracial Marriage: Expectations and Realities (1973). 

"Only the Law Would Rule Between Us": Anti-miscegenation, the Moral Economy of Dependency, and the Debate Over Rights After the Civil War, 70 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 873 (1995). 

Race, Marriage, and the Law of Freedom: Alabama and Virginia, 1860's-1960's. 70 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 371 (1994). 

Racial Purity and Interracial Sex in the Law of Colonial and Antebellum Virginia, 77 Geo. L. J. 1967 (1989). 

The Devil and the One Drop Rule: Racial Categories, African Americans, and the U.S. Census, 95 Mich. L. Rev. 1161 (1997). 


James Trosino, American Wedding: Same-Sex Marriage and the Miscegenation Analogy, 73 B.U. L. Rev. 93 (1993). Total pages read: 7. 

This article compares the history of interracial marriages with that of same-sex marriages. This annotation is only going to focus on the miscegenation laws and the view society had of children born out of interracial marriages. The author states that the freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by freemen. 

Historically, however the freedom of marriage was not always granted between races. Virginia first enacted a statutory proscription of miscegenations marriage in 1691.10 Penalties were severe-the White partner in an interracial marriage was banished from the colony, and any child of the marriage was bound out by the church wardens until he/she reached the age of 30.11 

There were many justifications to uphold the laws which stated that marriage between races were forbidden and criminal. Three major justifications are explained by the author which are: White supremacy, protection of White womanhood, and the prevention of mixed race offspring. The third justification was based on popular belief that children of interracial marriages were mentally and physically inferior to pure White race children.12 These racist beliefs concerning the inferiority of mixed race children were not confined to the uneducated masses. The science of Eugenics also supported the belief that children produced from these interracial marriages were inferior. The science is based on the proposition that most human ills are hereditary and that the human race can be perfected by encouraging the mating of healthy productive stock and discouraging the reproduction among the less fit.13 Thus, bans on interracial marriages were supported by science and non-science means. 

This author goes back in history and talks about the past views of interracial marriages and the justifications for its criminal penalties. Even though this article is used as a comparison between interracial and same-sex marriages, it gives a vivid history of interracial marriages and how the children of these marriages were viewed by society. 

Peter Wallenstein, Race, Marriage, and the Law of Freedom: Alabama and Virginia, 1860's-1960's, 70 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 371 (1994). Total pages read: 34. 

In this article, Peter Wallenstein goes into great detail of the evolution of interracial marriages in Alabama and Virginia. First, the author talks about the origins of laws against interracial marriages in Alabama. The Alabama Constitution of 1865 directed the legislature to make interracial marriages between White and people of African ancestry "null and void and make the parties to any such marriage subject to criminal prosecutions."14 The legislature established a penalty of 2-7 years imprisonment for both member of any interracial couple. Penalties were also set up for any probate judge who knowingly issued a marriage license to an interracial couple, and for any justice of the peace or minister of the gospel who performed a marriage ceremony for such a couple.15 

This article goes on to show how the courts have adapted new law in both Alabama and Virginia as the political, legal, and constitutional environment determined how laws would be applied to interracial marriage. The time periods which are focused on are as follows: 1868-1877, 1877-1920's, 1920's-1940's, 1950's, and the 1960's with Loving v. Virginia, and the post script of both States after Loving. He ends the article by stating with Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. has finally put an end to slavery. 

This bibliography will focus on the additional time periods from 1660-1690, and 1690-1770 (the history basically holds true for both Virginia and Alabama). These time periods are where the history of the children born out of interracial marriages all began. In 1662, the question in front of the legislature was whether "children got by any Englishman upon a Negro woman should be free or slave."16 The solution was to look at the mother: if the non-white woman was free, her mixed-race child would be free; but if she was a slave, then any child she had would be a slave. 

As time progressed, the laws changed, and interracial marriages were not banned, but rather, the law mandated banishment forever of the White party to any interracial marriage that occurred, if free, within three months after such marriage.17 If the child was a "bastard child" born from a couple not going through the wedding ceremony, the child was taken by the warden of the church in the parish and bound to be a servant until he or she attained the age of 30.18 

After 1691, the legislature reduced the percent of African American ancestry a person had to have in them to be defined as the mixed-race. With the new laws, more people were fined, the penalties were higher, and now the bastard child would be bound as a servant until the age of 31. Then in 1765 Virginia's legislature relaxed the terms of their laws in only one aspect-children born after this year would only be subject to servantry for 21 years if they were male and 18 years if female.19 

Up until the 1960's, the laws against interracial marriages stayed on the books. As time progressed the fines and penalties decreased, but their historical effects on children were severe and long lasting. The article does an excellent job of laying out the history of interracial marriages, the politics, laws, and court systems behind such marriages, and how the law viewed mixed race children. 

A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Racial Purity and Interracial Sex in the Law of Colonial and Antebellum Virginia, 77 Geo. L. J. 1967 (1989). Total pages read: 29. 

The author starts out this article by stating there is no better place to examine prohibitions on interracial sex and marriage as Virginia. Many people see Virginia as the "mother of Presidents" (four of the first five Presidents were from Virginia), and the "mother of Revolutionaries" such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and Patrick Henry.20 However, Virginia was also the leader of slavery and one of the first colonies to formulate a legal definition of race. After slavery was abolished the Virginians needed other mechanisms to preserve racial hierarchy and so laws regarding interracial sex and marriage were introduced. The author states there are two basic concerns which lead to the laws on interracial sex and marriage: maintenance of a clear boundary line in a society that was based on slavery; the protection of involuntary interracial sex (rape).21 

A statutory definition of race arose because of one essential factor-how should the mixed race offspring of these couples be classified. With classification, people were given certain rights and privileges. If a person was White, they received the rights and privileges; if they were Black or of the mixed race they received nothing. The way in which the court system determined what rights and privileges a person received was through a burden of proof. If the person looked White then the burden of proof was on the State to show the person was either Black or of the mixed race. If the person looked Black or mixed, the burden was on the person to prove they were White and entitled to such rights and privileges.22 

The author next goes into the concern over the production of mixed race children. The statutes were mainly concerned with the White woman first because it was her who was directly assaulting White racial purity. She was producing these mixed race children when in fact she was capable of producing pure White children. Black woman who produced mixed race children were not seen as assaulting the White race because they were unable to produce White children, thus did not effect the White race.23 

Lastly, the article discusses prosecution of rape in Virginia. In the 1600 and 1700's rape carried the death penalty, but by 1795 the death penalty for rape was abolished. Blacks and mixed race people were prosecuted for rape much more than were Whites for two basic reasons: according to the law Blacks and mixed race people could not testify against a White person in court; and rape by a White man was not looked down upon during these time periods.24 

The author takes a historical approach to interracial sex and marriage and how these two actions were perceived in Virginia. The article goes into much detail on the ideals of classification and what benefits classification had for a society. This article is also a perfect example to show how law is directly affected with the changes in society's views. Natsu Saito Jenga, Unconscious: The "Just Say No" Response to Racism, 81 Iowa L. Rev. 1503 (1996). Total pages read: 8. 

The author of this article comments on those who are advocates of the "just say no" approach to racism. This approach basically states that we all will reject conscious racist acts and proceed in a color-blind manner. In addition, those in favor of this approach say that to effectively counter racism we can ignore race and create interracial families.25 

The author says that ignoring race is flawed because racial identity is unavoidable and has very real consequences. What needs to occur is the recognition of racial consequences, and to teach children about these consequences. The author gives three reasons for the recognition and teaching to children: the consciousness of racial identity is unavoidable in this society; if we do teach our children about these realities they can grow up proud, happy, self-confident, and can recognize and resist the messages of racism; and that in America today people of all backgrounds will continue to be damaged by the very concrete effects of racism as long as it permeates our society.26 

The author goes on to strictly analyze the second way to effectively counter racism-create interracial families. The advocates of this theory say that family relationships hold the key to the resolution of racial conflicts and if family ties make it across racial lines we will more quickly consume racism than by any other force.27 However, this argument is flawed because our schools, social lives, and any other aspect of life, are so frequently segregated that interracial couples must make constant choices about which communities to participate in, and multiracial children are continually confronted by questions of cultural and racial identity. Our society is based on Black and White, and those children in the middle need to understand that dealing with and not ignoring racism (pretending it does not exist) is the key to create a non-racial society. 

The author in this article, I believe, rightly rejects the "just say no" argument. If (this is a huge if) we could get everyone to ignore race then this approach would work wonderfully. However, as the author points out, "we cannot click our heels three times, just say no, and make racism disappear."28 Our society needs to confront and struggle with racism, not ignore it, for out country to be free of racism. 

Emily Field Van Tassel, "Only the Law Would Rule Between Us:" Anti-miscegenation, the Moral Economy of Dependency, and the Debate Over Rights After the Civil War, 70 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 873 (1995). Total pages read 26. 

The author looks at interracial marriage, perceived by White people, as a method that Blacks were using to achieve racial equality. Whites feared that interracial marriage would undermine the assumed superiority of White and Black and the legal foundation for dependency on White men that extended to woman and children as well as to Blacks. According to this author, the White men were less concerned about the mixed race children born out of these relationships then they were for the implication of social equality that mixed race marriages implied. 

She goes on to say that for nearly the whole 250 years of slavery in America, one constant in the regulations of the institution was the prohibition on sexual relations between Whites and Blacks.29 During this time, the mixed race children showed to be profitable to the South because if the mother was a slave, then the child was automatically a slave and this in turn produced free labor. However, once the emancipation of the slaves occurred, the Whites felt threatened because there was no longer a legal structure of inferiority and servitude defining racial boundaries. Thus, the Whites power could no longer be taken for granted which resulted in the laws against interracial marriages. 

The article goes into may more aspects on interracial marriage like "the dependency rights" and "what constitutes manhood," which in history to be a man the person had to be White. The article does a fine job in showing the major concerns White men had during the 19th century regarding interracial marriages, and how they tried to preserve White supremacy. 

Christine B. Hickman, The Devil and the One Drop Rule: Racial Categories, African Americans and the U.S. Census, 95 Mich. L. Rev. 1161 (1997). Total pages read: 15. 

The author analyzes the "one drop rule" and how this rule placed people into racial categories. Historically, in some regions if a person had one drop of Black blood in them they were automatically a Black person, which basically gave them no rights and privileges. On the other hand, as history progressed, the White legislatures were cautious on their definition of a Black person. The main concern was that if they pushed the definition of Black to the extreme, many prominent White families would have been embarrassed by the consequences of distant unknown Black ancestors.30 

She next examines the proposal which stated that every person chooses their race by their daily actions and not by skin color. She has observed that society does not tie skin color to a White person who makes certain decisions, but let the person be Black and whatever choices that person makes will automatically be related to their skin color. Therefore, she says race is dictated by society and genealogy and a person has no choice of their race. 

The focus of this article deals with the U.S. Census and how children of mixed families should register their identity. The author proposes that three boxes should be placed in the census-White, Black and Multi-race, with a line for description under multi-race.31 She believes that multiracial children are not treated fairly under the laws and they need their own racial identity. She proposes that a multiracial box will have an adjoining line, which will allow the person to identify their parents racial groups. Then the multiracial children can identify to which group they belong to whether it is White, Black, or mixed race. With the accompanying inquiry line, they can be counted as multiracial for the census. Thus, multiracial people will be more accurately counted and society can better evaluate progress to end racism. 

There are opposing views to the census modification. One side says there should be no change to the census because only having Black and White categories better assures safeguarding voting rights, job opportunities, and school segregation plans, as well as to effectively enforce anti-discrimination laws in favor of Blacks. On the other side there are arguments that the absence of a multiracial category deprives millions of citizens the right to freely express their true racial identity.32 Without the multiracial box, the author argues that multiracial people do not officially exist. 

The author points out some interesting and persuasive arguments for the census modification. If society wants to continue to effectively fight racism, we need an accurate accounting of the racial makeup of our country. A count that is necessary to gauge the racism that still faces both minority and biracial Americans.33 

Paul C. Rosenblatt, Terri A. Karis, & Richard D. Powell, Children, Multiracial Couples (1995). Total pages read 22. 

This chapter not only shows the troubles biracial children may face as they grow up, but the advantages a child may have because he/she is biracial. First, a discussion will address the negative effects biracial children may face. A child needs to be completely prepared to face racism. Categorization and racism pose a problem to a biracial child. Those who are racist thinkers need to place everyone into a category, but a biracial child does not fit neatly into a category. Racists may become more resentful and more racist towards these children, and these children may draw inordinate amounts of attention in situations in which the usual racial category system has no clear place for somebody who seems not to fit in one category or another.34 

A second problem a biracial child may experience is that he/she could encounter an identity crisis because they embody two racial groups that are defined very differently in the category system of American racism. When the child is old enough to understand their identity, the parents need to step in and educate the child. This is not always easy for the parents who usually come from two completely different backgrounds. However, parents have concurred that it is absolutely essential that a biracial child have a clear and positive sense of identity.35 

A third problem a biracial child may face is conflicts with their grandparents. At times grandparents may become very attached to the child and the biracial family will draw closer together. However, even though the grandparents are very attached to the child, at times the White grandparents historic views overcome them, and they will still keep their distance because of the fear they will get labeled for associating with a Black family.36 This resentment and distance of the grandparents leaves a lasting impression on the biracial child and how they are viewed by society. 

One last negative effect children receive because of their racial identify comes from their siblings. Some biracial children can pass as White while others can not. This can result in the whiter child receiving privileges society will deny to the darker skinned child. This will ultimately lead to resentment in the family and barriers to sibling closeness. On the other hand, the child who can pass as White may bring with them a lifetime of identity struggles, the unpleasantness of secret keeping, and personal and family pain arising from efforts to hide the existence of relatives of color.37 

There are some advantages to biracial children and their families. First the child has the particular value of knowing multiple racial perspectives and will be better able to relate to people in more than one racial group. In addition, some parents learn things about their own sense of identity as they work in bringing up their own children which helps both the child and parent. A second advantage is within education. A biracial child can gain the educational advantages which are given to children of color.38 One example is the Negro college fund. These benefits have been established to achieve educational goals for the whole population and t attempt to reduce the damage caused by racism. 

The authors of this book focus on some of the prevalent issues that concern biracial children and their families. These issues are presented on first hand accounts with many examples. Therefore, those who better understand through examples and illustrations would be encouraged to review this book. 

Allan C. Brownfeld, Children in Interracial Homes, Marriage Across the Color Line (1965). Total pages read: 13. 

The author first addresses the issue of biracial children by saying that there is no authoritative evidence that an interracial home life is harmful to a child.39 He continues by saying that children must, from the outset, have formed the impression that diversity of physical type is a normal human condition. This education process has to begin when young children initiate questions of skin color and the like. The education has to be presented in such a manner that is easily understood by children. Furthermore, to eliminate information overload, the education should be given in small doses to meet the concerns of the child. 

In achieving the goals of education, the parents must strive to show that one kind of physical type is as good as another, and it is normal and alright to be different. This book is a bit outdated, but it shows the concerns parents will have in raising their biracial children, what questions to expect, how to confront these questions, and what the parents can do to better prepare themselves and their children for a world of racism. 

Vladimir Piskacek & Marlene Golub, Children of Interracial Marriages, Interracial Marriages: Expectations and Realities (1973). Total pages read: 11. 

The two authors of this book state that the biggest problem facing biracial children is an identity crisis. The sense of self is derived from identity from ones parents.40 The way a child perceives his/herself depends upon how the parents perceive the child. If the parents are unified in their perception of the child, the child is more likely to have an integrated sense of self despite the fact he/she is comprised of more than one race. To resolve the identity crisis, the parents have to discuss openly how they will raise their children. Identity is a lifelong process. The parents must provide secure role models with which the child can identify. More importantly, is the fact the parents must take these role model identities and unite them into a common perception to provide a consistent reinforcement of the child's values as a person in terms of sameness and continuity over time.41 

The authors note that there are basically three stages when a biracial child's identity can be negatively effected. The first point in this time line is when one parent tells the child he/she is White and the other parent tells the child he/she is Black. The second clash of identity arises between the child's choice of identification whether it is Black or White and the negative parental feedback from such a choice. The last point of negative effect imposed on a biracial child's identity is when the child and the parent agree regarding the child's identity, but society does not agree with them.42 The authors do a good job in explaining the identity crisis problem and the critical time periods where the child could loose his/her identity. 

Ernest Porterfield, Children of Black-White Marriages, Black and White Mixed Marriages (1978). Total pages read: 8. 

The author suggests that neither the Black nor White community accepts children born of mixed marriages. In addition, these children are faced with problems that tend to produce reactions of guilt, insecurity, anxiety, and emotional instability. Biracial children would like to identify with both parents but find themselves torn between the loyalty they owe each parent. Since they cannot identity with both parents, the child feels resentment towards one or both parents. 

Another problem the child faces is being caught between the White and Black society. The biracial child will have a higher status in the Black community because their skin color is usually lighter. The lighter biracial child will gain advantages over the darker skinned children, but the lighter skinned child will be shunned from the Black community by the Blacks and the White community will not fully accept the child because he/she is still of Black skin. These disadvantages will cause the child to be caught in the middle of the two communities with no support. 

Even though the author did not use the specific words "white privilege," he alluded to the concept when he talked about being stuck between the Black and White classification system. He did acknowledge the fact that skin color does have an impact on how readily society will accept a child and to what extent that child will receive advantages over other children of darker skin. 


11924 Va. Acts ch. 371. 

2 Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 6 (1967). 

3 Id. at 4 (citing Va Code Ann 20-58 (Michie 1960)). 

4 Id. at 6. 

5 Id. at 3. 

6 Art Shriberg & Carol Lloyd, Interracial Couple Fights Prejudice Taboo Slowly Dying as Marriages Rise, The Cincinnati Enquirer, (June 8, 1997). 

7 Id. 

8 Allison Askins, Sam Boone Remembers the Day He Made the Mistake of Drinking Water From a "Colored" Fountain in His Hometown of Bennettsville, S.C., Charleston Gazette and Daily Mail, (October 19, 1997). 

9 Karen M. Pihl, More Integrated U.S. Sees Interracial Marriages Increasing, York Daily Record, (November 17, 1997). 

10 James Trosino, American Wedding: Same-Sex Marriage and the Miscegenation Analogy, 73 B.U. L. Rev. 93, 97 (1993). 11 Id. at 98. 

12 Id. at 102. 

13 Id. at 102. 

14 Peter Wallenstein, Race, Marriage, and the Law of Freedom: Alabama and Virginia, 1860's-1960's, 70 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 371, 375 (1994). 

15 Id. at 375. 

16 Id. at 389. 

17 Id. at 390. 

18 Id. at 391. 

19 Id. at 393. 

20 A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Racial Purity and Interracial Sex in the Law of Colonial and Antebellum Virginia, 77 Geo. L. J. 1967, 1967 (1989). 21 Id. at 1968. 

22 Id. at 1985-1986. 

23 Id. at 1997. 

24 Id. at 2011. 

25 Natsu Saito Jenga, Unconscious: The "Just Say No" Response to Racism, 81 Iowa L. Rev. 1503, 1506 (1996). 26 Id. at 1515. 

27 Id. at 1518. 

28 Id. at 1514. 

29 Emily Field Van Tassel, "Only the Law Would Rule Between Us": Anti-miscegenation, the Moral Economy of Dependency, and the Debate Over Rights After the Civil War, 70 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 873, 895 (1995). 

30 Christine B. Hickman, The Devil and the One Drop Rule: Racial Categories, African Americans, and the U.S. Census, 95 Mich. L. Rev. 1161, 1223 (1997). 31 Id. at 1254. 

32 Id. at 1254. 

33 Id. at 1265. 

34 Paul Rosenblatt, Terri Karis, & Richard Powell, Children, Multiracial Couples, 197 (1995). 35 Id. at 203. 

36 Id. at 195. 

37 Id. at 214 

38 Id. at 196. 

39 Clotye Larson, Children in Interracial Homes, Marriage Across the Color Line, 67, 68 (1965). 40 Vladimir Piskacek & Marlene Golub, Children of Interracial Marriages, Interracial Marriage: Expectations and Realities, 51, 57 (1973). 41 Id. at 54. 

42 Id. at 58. 

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