Tell the Court I Love My Wife: Race, Marriage, and Law: An American History

Tell the Court I Love My Wife: Race, Marriage, and Law: An American History

Palgrave Macmillan
336 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 16-page b/w photo insert
ISBN: 978-1-4039-6408-3, ISBN10: 1-4039-6408-4

Peter Wallenstein, Professor of History
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The first in-depth history of miscegenation law in the United States, this book illustrates in vivid detail how states, communities, and the courts have defined and regulated mixed-race marriage from the colonial period to the present. Combining a storyteller’s detail with a historian’s analysis, Peter Wallenstein brings the sagas of Richard and Mildred Loving and countless other interracial couples before them to light in this harrowing history of how individual states had the power to regulate one of the most private aspects of life: marriage.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: “That’s No Good Here”
  • Part I. Abominable Mixture and Spurious Issue
    • Sex, Marriage, Race, and Freedom in the Early Chesapeake
    • Indian Foremothers and Freedom Suits in Revolutionary Virginia
    • From the Chesapeake Colonies to the State of California
    • Race, Marriage, and the Crisis of the Union
  • Part II. Equal Protection of the Laws
    • Post-Civil War Alabama
    • Reconstruction and the Law of Interracial Marriage
    • Accommodating the Law of Freedom of the Law of Race
    • Interracial Marriage and the Federal Courts, 1857-1917
    • Interlude: Polygamy, Incest, Fornication, Cohabitation – and Interracial Marriage
  • Part III. Problem of the Color Line
    • Drawing and Redrawing the Color Line
    • Boundaries – Race and Place in the Law of Marriage
    • Racial Identiy and Family Property
    • Miscegenation Laws, the NAACP, and the Federal Courts, 1941-1963
  • Part IV. A Breakthrough Case in California
    • Contesting the Antimiscegenation Regime – the 1960s
    • Virginia vesus the Lovings – and the Lovings versus Virginia
    • America after Loving v. Virginia
  • Epilogue: The Color of Love after Loving
    • Appendices
    • Permanent Repeal of State Miscegenation Laws, 1780-1967
    • Intermarriage in Nazi Germany and Apartheid South Africa
    • Indentity and Authority: An Interfaith Couple in Israel
    • Transsexuals, Gender Identity, and the Law of Marriage
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