Louisiana Repeals Black Blood Law

Louisiana Repeals Black Blood Law

The New York Times

Frances Frank Marcus, Special to the New York Times

NEW ORLEANS, July 5—  Gov. David C. Treen today signed legislation repealing a Louisiana statute that established a mathematical formula to determine if a person was black.

The law establishing the formula, passed by state legislators in 1970, said that anyone having one thirty-second or less of “Negro blood” should not be designated as black by Louisiana state officials.

The legislator who wrote the law repealing the formula, Lee Frazier, a 34-year-old Democrat representing a racially mixed district in New Orleans, said recently that he had done so because of national attention focused on the law by a highly publicized court case here.

The case involves the vigorous but thus far unsuccessful efforts of Susie Guillory Phipps, the wife of a well-to-do white businessman in Sulphur, La., to change the racial description on her birth certificate from “col.,” an abbreviation for “colored,” to “white.”…

…Mr. Frazier said that in the future it would be possible for a person to change birth records by sworn statements from family members, doctors and others.

He said his research showed that the designation of race on official documents in this area from the late 1700’s and that its purpose was “to keep control over land ownership, to keep the landowner from having to share his land with his illegitimate children who were family members.”

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