The New Virginia Law To Preserve Racial Integrity

The New Virginia Law To Preserve Racial Integrity

Virginia Health Bulletin
Virginia Department of Health
Volume XVI, Extra Number 2 (March 1924)
pages 1-4
Source: Pamphlet: Rockbridge County Clerk’s Correspondence, 1912–1943. Local Government Records Collection. The Library of Virginia, (Racial Integrity Act Documents) 12-1245-005

W. A. Plecker, M. D.
State Registrar of Vital Statistics, Richmond, Virginia

Senate Bill 219, To preserve racial integrity, passed the House March 8, 1924, and is now a law of the State.

This bill aims at correcting a condition which only the more thoughtful people of Virginia know the existence of.

It is estimated that there are in the State from 10,000 to 20,000, possibly more, near white people, who are known to possess an intermixture of colored blood, in some cases to a slight extent it is true, but still enough to prevent them from being white.

In the past it has been possible for these people to declare themselves as white, or even to have the Court so declare them. Then they have demanded tho admittance of their children into the white schools, and in not a few cases have intermarried with white people.

In many counties they exist as distinct colonies holding themselves aloof from negroes, but not being admitted by the white people as of their race.

In any large gathering or school of colored people, especially in the cities, many will be observed who are scarcely distinguishable as colored.

These persons, however, are not white in reality, nor by the new definition of this law, that a white person is one with no trace of the blood of another race, except that a person with one-sixteenth of the American Indian, if there is no other race mixture, may be classed as white.

Their children are likely to revert to the distinctly negro type even when all apparent evidence of mixture has disappeared.

The Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics has been called upon within one month for evidence by two lawyers employed to assist people of this type to force their children into the white public schools, and by another employed by the school trustees of a district to prevent this action.

In each case evidence was found to show that either the people themselves or their connect ions were reported to our office to be of mixed blood.

Our Bureau has kept a watchful eye upon the situation, and has guarded the welfare of the State as far as possible with inadequate law and power. The condition has gone on, however, and is rapidly increasing in importance.

Unless radical measures are used to prevent it, Virginia and other parts of the Nation must surely in time go the way of all other countries in which people of two or more races have lived in close contact. With the exception of the Hebrew race, complete intermixture or amalgamation has been the inevitable result.

To succeed, the intermarriage of the white race with mixed stock must be made impossible. But that is not sufficient, public sentiment must be so aroused that intermixture out of wedlock will cease.

The public must be led to look with scorn and contempt upon the man who will degrade himself and do harm to society by such abhorrent deeds.

The Bureau of Vital Statistics, Clerks who issue marriage licenses, and the school authorities are the barriers placed by this law between the danger and the safety of the Commonwealth…

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