The interracial love story that stunned Washington — twice! — in 1867

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2019-02-15 20:32Z by Steven

The interracial love story that stunned Washington — twice! — in 1867

The Washington Post

Jessica Contrera

Eli S. Parker, a Seneca Indian who worked for Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, was engaged to Minnie Sackett, a young white woman, in 1867. (The History Collection/Alamy) (The History Collection/Alamy Stock Photo/The History Collection/Alamy Stock Photo)

When Ely Parker married Minnie Sackett, “the creme de la creme of Washington society” came to gawk

The wedding was a shock before it even began. In 1867, the nation’s capital learned that Minnie Sackett, the daughter of a prominent Civil War colonel, was engaged. Sackett was considered to be “one of the most beautiful women in the District,” according to the New York Tribune, with her high-neck lace collars and brunette ringlets piled atop her head.

Her soon-to-be husband, 39-year-old Ely S. Parker, had served in the Union Army as the private secretary to then-Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. It was Parker who drafted the terms of surrender that ended the war in 1865. So close was their friendship that Grant himself planned to escort the bride, whose father had died, down the aisle at Washington’s Episcopal Church of the Epiphany.

Why was their betrothal controversial? “It may not be generally known that Col. Parker is a full-blooded Indian,” the Tribune reported. “A near relative to the famous Red Jacket and of the present Chief of the six nations Cherokees.”

One hundred years before the Supreme Court would make interracial marriage legal throughout the country, a white woman was marrying an Indian man…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,