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4 Couples Who for the Sake of Love Broke Interracial Marriage Laws

4 Couples Who for the Sake of Love Broke Interracial Marriage Laws

There are many stereotypes, preconceptions, and presumptions about interracial dating and interracial dating. But how many of these are true? Interracial dating sites can help link up interracial singles but can these interracial relationships work? If yes, how many interracial couples have stood the test of time and refused to cave in with societal pressures?

The disdain many individuals and families have for interracial relationships and marriages didn't deter the following couples from dating each other. There were strict interracial marriage laws designed to stop people of different races who wanted to date dating each other during their times. Yet, for the sake of love, these four interracial couples went on to break the law and marry each other despite the harsh penalties set out for those who broke interracial marriage laws.

Ruth Williams and Khama Seretse

First, we'd talk about Ruth Williams, a young lady in the singles category who worked as a clerk in an insurance market. Here, she came across Khama Seretse, an international student who lived in a nearby hostel. She later got married to him in 1948 after dating for a period. Little did she know that he would later go on to be the president of Botswana, and she the First Lady.

They powered on to marriage, overcoming death threats, multiracial democracy, and opposition from family and the society at large in the process. The sweetest part of this story is that they abolished multiracial democracy in the beautiful country together as a couple.

Ruth and Khama defied the odds and fought for acceptance from a world unwilling to accept them as a couple.

Mildred and Richard

Mildred and Richard are another set of a couple who broke boundaries just to be together. On the night of their wedding, they were arrested for getting married by three police officers in their Georgia home. The two were charged for defying the law and dating despite the country's laws that stood against it... The judge called Mildred a felon as long as she lived.

Upon release, the couple moved to Washington DC to work in Virginia with the American Liberties Union. In 1967, the United States Supreme Court pronounced that any state law meant to defy interracial marriages was unconstitutional.

Louie Bellson and Pearl Bailey

Louie Bellson and Pearl Bailey are other couples to emulate. Both were musicians. Louie became the Duke of Ellington's first white band, but his marriage to Bailey complicated his career. The couple was forced to lie about Pearl's heritage when they were in the southern states of the U.S, claiming she was Haitian.

They, however, persisted in the music industry and were married for 38 years before Bellson's demise in 2009. Pearl joined the Republican party and served as the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for various Republican Presidents. She remained a member of the party, where she was accepted for her interracial marriage, during the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Federick Douglass and Helen Pitts

Federick Douglass and Helen Pitts are an interracial couple who defied all laws to be together. Federick was a slave turned social reformist, while Helen was a suffragist and abolitionist. They fought for not just the acceptance of their love but also slavery and women's rights. At first, while they were dating, it was shrouded in controversy. Still, later on, January 25, 1884, they had a private marriage at the House of Dr. Grimké of the Presbyterian Church, private with only two witnesses present.

Although, he first got married to a woman of color who died a year ago before the new marriage. He married Helen at 73 while she was about 35 years of age. By now, he already had daughters who were the same age as his wife.

Both Helen and Federick, who were outspoken activists passed on after doing what they loved. Douglass died of a heart attack in 1895, the same day he delivered a speech on women's suffrage, while Pitts died in 1903 after working on a women's rights publication called the Alpha.

Despite all the obstacles these couples faced during dating and their marriage, their challenges, triumphs, and success stories paved the way for millions after them, from Mayor Bill de Blasio of the New York City, who was the first American mayor that got married to a black wife and took her to office, to entertainers such as Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West.


Cheryl Y. Judice, PhD - Researcher on Interracial Relationships

Cheryl holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Northwestern University where she is an adjunct faculty member in the School of Education and Social Policy. She has taught sociology, social psychology, and African American studies at Lake Forest College, Northeastern Illinois University and Northwestern University.


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