Miscegenation: marriage or cohabitation between a man and woman ofdifferent races, especially, in the U.S., between a black anda white person.

Anti-miscegenation laws forbade interracial marriage.These laws have been apart of America since the 1600’s and some where rewritten early in the 20th century. Virginia’s racial integrity act of 1924 was one of the most influential laws. This law clearly defined colored persons and Indians. The law also prohibited intermarriage and leaving the state to evade the law. Anyone who broke the law and got married was to be guilty of a felony.

John Powell and Walter Plecker were key proponents in laws of this type. Powell was a founder of a white supremacist group and Plecker was in charge of enforcing the law from the 1920’s through the 1940’s. They used marriage licenses, birth certificates, tax records, and gossip to determine who was white.

Trouble came when their were great inconsistencies in these laws concerning marriage. For example: In Mississippi, Mongolian-white marriages were illegal and void, but in North Carolina they are permitted. Also, in Arkansas, a negro is defined as anyone who has blood in their veins, but in Florida, one is not considered a negro unless they have at least  one eighth of negro blood. 

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