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With the new laws, more people were fined, the penalties were higher, and now the bastard child would be bound as a servant until the age of 31. The author starts out this article by stating there is no better place to examine prohibitions on interracial sex and marriage as Virginia.
Then in 1765 Virginia's legislature relaxed the terms of their laws in only one aspect-children born after this year would only be subject to servantry for 21 years if they were male and 18 years if female.19 Up until the 1960's, the laws against interracial marriages stayed on the books. Many people see Virginia as the "mother of Presidents" (four of the first five Presidents were from Virginia), and the "mother of Revolutionaries" such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and Patrick Henry.20 However, Virginia was also the leader of slavery and one of the first colonies to formulate a legal definition of race.
As time progressed the fines and penalties decreased, but their historical effects on children were severe and long lasting. After slavery was abolished the Virginians needed other mechanisms to preserve racial hierarchy and so laws regarding interracial sex and marriage were introduced.
The Lovings were prosecuted under a statute enacted in 1924 entitled "An Act to Preserve Racial Integrity."1 The statute said that in Virginia no White person could marry anyone other than a white person.2 The law made it a crime not only to enter into an interracial marriage in the State of Virginia, but it also criminalized interracial marriages outside the state with the intent of evading Virginia's prohibition.3 Furthermore the law stated that children born out of such a union were deemed in the eyes of the State to be illegitimate and without the protections and privileges accorded to the children of lawfully wedded parents. This article compares the history of interracial marriages with that of same-sex marriages.
Children from interracial marriages are no longer denied the same benefits and privileges as the children prior to Loving. Children of Black and White Marriages, Black and White Mixed Marriages (1978). Peter Wallenstein, Race, Marriage, and the Law of Freedom: Alabama and Virginia, 1860's-1960's, 70 Chi.-Kent L. The Alabama Constitution of 1865 directed the legislature to make interracial marriages between White and people of African ancestry "null and void and make the parties to any such marriage subject to criminal prosecutions."14 The legislature established a penalty of 2-7 years imprisonment for both member of any interracial couple. This bibliography will focus on the additional time periods from 1660-1690, and 1690-1770 (the history basically holds true for both Virginia and Alabama).
Celebrities like Tiger Woods may have changed society's views on interracial children, but are there more serious effects on these children than what is shown by Tiger Woods? Children of Interracial Marriages, Interracial Marriage: Expectations and Realities (1973). Race, Marriage, and the Law of Freedom: Alabama and Virginia, 1860's-1960's. Penalties were also set up for any probate judge who knowingly issued a marriage license to an interracial couple, and for any justice of the peace or minister of the gospel who performed a marriage ceremony for such a couple.15 This article goes on to show how the courts have adapted new law in both Alabama and Virginia as the political, legal, and constitutional environment determined how laws would be applied to interracial marriage. These time periods are where the history of the children born out of interracial marriages all began.
In the 16's rape carried the death penalty, but by 1795 the death penalty for rape was abolished. 39 Clotye Larson, Children in Interracial Homes, Marriage Across the Color Line, 67, 68 (1965).
Blacks and mixed race people were prosecuted for rape much more than were Whites for two basic reasons: according to the law Blacks and mixed race people could not testify against a White person in court; and rape by a White man was not looked down upon during these time periods.24 The author takes a historical approach to interracial sex and marriage and how these two actions were perceived in Virginia. 40 Vladimir Piskacek & Marlene Golub, Children of Interracial Marriages, Interracial Marriage: Expectations and Realities, 51, 57 (1973).
The way in which the court system determined what rights and privileges a person received was through a burden of proof.