A Reappraisal of the Constitutionality of Miscegenation Statutes

A Reappraisal of the Constitutionality of Miscegenation Statutes

Cornell Law Quarterly
Volume 42, Issue 2 (Winter 1957)
pages 208-222

Andrew D. Weinberger, LL.B., D. HUM, Member of the New York Bar, New York City & Visiting Professor of Law
Nationzal University of Mexico

Today [in 1957], 21 States of the Union by statute forbid marriages on racial grounds. These statutes are neither uniform in the racial groups against whom the ban is applicable, nor in defining membership in the various ethnic groups. Thus, while in Utah white-Mongolian marriages are illegal and void, in North Carolina they are permitted. In Arkansas, where white-Negro marriages are void, a Negro is defined as “any person who has in his or her veins any Negro blood whatever.” In Florida, one ceases to be a Negro when he has less than “one-eighth of . . . African or Negro blood”; and in Oklahoma, anyone not of “African descent” is miraculously transmuted into a member of the white race.

The racial groups affected by such statutes include Mongolians, Malays, Hindus, Chinese, Japanese, Ethiopians, American Indians, Cherokees, Mestizos, Halfbreeds, and “the brown race.” The sole racial group (other than white persons) affected by all twenty-one statutes is the Negro…

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