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NEGRO-WHITE INTERMARRIAGE: A STUDY OF SOCIAL CONTROL

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THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
NEGRO-WHITE INTERMARRIAGE;
A STUDY OF SOCIAL CONTROL
A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED TO
THE FACULTY OF THE DIVISION OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCES
IN CANDIDACY FOR THE DEGREI OF
MASTER OF ARTS
DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY
BY
ROBERT EDWARD TliOHAS ROBERTS
CHICAGO, I L u a i u l S
IF C] Hi it, 1940
R e p r o d u ce d with p erm issio n o f th e copyright ow n er. Further reproduction prohibited w ithout p erm ission .
I
a
II
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
LIST OF TABLES.........................................................................................................i l l
;,j
C hapter
si
|
I.
H
II.
INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................
FREQUENCY AND TRENDS OF NEGRO-WHITE INTERMARRIAGE
III.
1
.
10
NEGRO-WHITE RELATIONS IN CHICAGO ..........................................
26
* ;
^
IV.
C a s t e - l l k e D i v i s i o n of S o c ie ty
A t t i t u d e of S o c ie ty tow ards N egro-’,Vhlte I n t e r ­
m a rr ia g e
SOCIAL FORCES WHICH PERMIT NEGRO-WIIITE INTERMARRIAGE
44
Mores and V alues C o n t r a d i c t o r y to C aste and Endog­
amy
S e c t io n s of S o c ie ty Which Do Not Share th e G eneru l
A ttitu d e
V.
THE SOCIAL SETTING OFNEGRO-VHlITE
MARRIAGES
. . . .
55
. . . .
67
The F i r s t M eeting
The P e rio d of C o u r ts h ip
V I.
SOCIAL SANCTIONSWiilCII
FOLLOW1INTERMARRIAGE
S o c i a l P r e s s u r e E x e r c is e d th r o u g h S p o u ses' Fami­
lie s
I n d i r e c t C o n tr o l th ro u g h S o c i a l P o s i t i o n o f C h i l ­
d re n
R e l a t i o n s w ith F r i e n d s , C l i q u e s , and A s s o c i a ti o n s
S o c i a l O s tra c is m and H u m il ia t io n by White and Ne­
gro Community
T h r e a ts to S e c u r i t y
Summary of N e g a tiv e S a n c tio n s
v ii.
conclusion
L l R I /U x '.R M 'h v
:
,
,
, t
.............................
96
............................................................................................................................................... 1 . 0 2
11
i
A
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L IS T
OP TA B L E S
Table
1,
2.
Page
I n t e r m a r r i a g e s of White and C olored in M ichigan,
1874-93 ....................................................................................... ,
11
I n t e r m a r r i a g e s of W hites and C olored In hhode I s l a n d
and C o n n e c t ic u t , 1881-93
12
3.
Mixed M a rria g e s in B oston , M ass., 1855-90........................... 12
4.
Negro-White M arriag e s In B osto n, M ass., 1900-04;
1 9 1 4 - 3 8 ................................................................................................. 13
5.
I n t e r m a r r i a g e i n New York C ity (Boroughs of M anhattan
and B ro n x ), 1908-12 ......................................................................... 13
6.
Negro-White M a rria g e s i n New York S t a t e , i x c l u s i v e of
New York C it y , 1 9 1 6 - 5 7 ................................................................
7.
14
I s t i m a t o d Rato and Number of Negro-White M a rria g e s in
C hicago, 1885-1938
23
11.1
ki
8
. .
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
I n t e r r a c i a l m a rria g e and m is c e g e n a tio n may be s t u d i e d from
a b i o l o g i c a l o r from a s o c i a l - c u l t u r a l p o i n t of view.
o f r a c e s may o ccu r w ith l i t t l e
The m ix tu r e
or no s o c i e t a l r e s t r i c t i o n o r may
be p r o h i b i t e d and s e v e r e l y p e n a l i z e d , dep end ing on the b e l i e f s ,
v a l u e s , and s t r u c t u r e of th e s o c i e t y .
Although i t i s u n l i k e l y t h a t
p u re r a c e s a r e to be fou n d today e i t h e r i n Germany o r I t a l y , p o r ­
t i o n s of n o r t h e r n Germany a r e l a r g e l y N o rd ic , th e p o p u l a t i o n o f
s o u th e r n Germany and n o r t h e r n I t a l y i s in th e main A lp in e , and th e
sf
hI.
i n h a b i t a n t s of s o u th e r n I t a l y a r e p re d o m in a n tly M e d ite r r a n e a n .
However, i n t e r m a r r i a g e betw een Nordic and A lpine Germans o r betw een
I'i
ij
A lp in e and M e d ite r r a n e a n I t a l i a n s i s n o t r e g u l a t e d by s o c i a l r u l e s
;
o t h e r tha n th o s e which gov ern any m a rr i a g e beca use the r a c i a l d i v i ­
s i o n s do no t c o n s t i t u t e s o c i a l or c u l t u r a l d i v i s i o n s .
While i t i s
true t h a t m a rr i ag e between members o f w id el y
d i v e r g e n t r a c i a l 3tocks meets with a p p r o v a l i n few s o c i e t i e s ,
l a r g e l y be ca u se the r a c e s u s u a l l y d i f f e r in c u l t u r e and I n s o c i a l
s t. a t u s , there- have been v a r y i n g r e s p o n s e s to such
ent h is to r i c a l s itu a tio n s .
The s o c i a l s e t t i n g
unions
in Hawaii
in d i f f e r ­
h as been
such t h a t interm arriage between f o l y n o s i a n c and members of s e v e r a l
e t h n i c gr o up s of Oaucusinn and Mongoloid s to c k
i s r e l a i i v e l y common
and n o t c o n t r a r y to p u b li c s e n t i m e n t . ^
H
:!
‘3
i
^'homanzo Adams, I n t e r r a c i a l Marriage; i n Hawaii (New York,
l'JSY), p . 4P.
1
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
2
In France
1
and B r a z il
2
in p a r t ic u la r , N egroes and N egroids
are n o t perm anently co n sig n ed t o in f e r i o r a ta tu s nor s e v e r e ly d i s ­
crim in a ted a g a in s t on the b a s is o f ra ce which i s n ot thought o f
as a problem*
M arriage with. W hites i s n e ith e r unusual nor d is a p ­
proved by the community and th e c h ild r e n o f su ch m arriages are n ot
s o c i a l l y stig m a tize d *
In s h o r t , r e la t io n s between Negroes and
W hites do n o t f o llo w c a s t e p r in c ip le s in th ese c o u n tr ie s .
"Race"as used by a n th r o p o lo g is ts i s a b io lo g i c a l term and
r a c e s are d efin ed on th e b a s is o f som atic t r a i t s which can be meas­
ured or d escrib ed *
The id ea th a t th e Negro and White groups in
Chicago can be so d e fin e d i s on ly p a r tly tr u e .
There i s some e v i ­
dence th a t th e American Negro i s becoming a r e l a t i v e l y homogeneous
com posite r a c e , an amalgam o f Negro, W hite, and American In dian
g
s to c k .
A c tu a lly , how ever, th e Negro group forms a g ra d a tio n in
p h y s ic a l typ e from unmixed NegroeB to in d iv id u a ls w ith the s m a lle st
f r a c t i o n o f Negro b lo o d and I n d is tin g u is h a b le from pure W hites.
E i o l o g i c a l l y , th e m arriage o f a pure Negro to a M ulatto i s a s en­
t i t l e d to th e d e s ig n a tio n " In te r r a c ia l" as i s the m arriage o f a
M ulatto and a White p orson .
Because d escen d an ts o f Negroes are
c la s s e d s o c i a l l y as Negroes r e g a r d le s s o f oth er a n c e s tr y , th e d i v i ­
s io n must be u n derstood on a s o c i a l b a s i s .
The problem I have s e -
^Personal In te r v ie w s w ith a French Negro and o th e r s ; M. H.
Work, Negro Year Book? An Annual E ncyclopedia o f th e N egro, 19251926 (T uskegee I n s t i t u t e , 1 9 2 5 ), p. 135.
2
M. J . H e r sk o v its, "The C olor L ine," The American Mercury,
VI (O cto b er, 1 9 2 5 ), 208; 0 . Lima, " R a cia l In term arriage In South
Am erica," M ission ary Review o f the World. XLVII ( J u ly , 1 9 2 4 ), 5 1314; Donald P ie r so n , A Study o f R a c ia l and C u ltu ra l Adjustment in
B ah ia, B ra zil" (U npublished Ph.D. d is s e r t a t io n , Department o f S o c i­
o lo g y , U n iv e r s ity o f C hicago, 1 9 3 9 ).
3
M. J . H e r sk o v its, The American Negro? a Study in Ra c i a l
C rossin g (New York, 1 9 2 8 ).
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le c t e d w i l l be tr e a te d from th e v iew p o in t o f s o c ia l ,r a t h e r than
I
p h y sic a l,a n th r o p o lo g y , and th e la b e ls "Negro"andllYJhite'.1 w i l l be
u sed in conformance to th e s o c i a l d e f i n i t i o n s .
T h is d is s e r t a t io n i s a d ir e c t outgrow th o f Id eas r e c e iv e d
from th e le c t u r e s o f P ro fe sso r W, Lloyd Warner in h is c o u r se s on
"The Modern Community" and "Problems o f th e Modern Community" a t
the U n iv e r s ity o f Chicago d u rin g the autumn and w in ter o f 1 9 3 6 -3 7 .
The s o c i a l str u c tu r e o f th r e e contem porary com m unities, one in Hew
England, one in the South o f th e U nited S t a t e s , and th e o th e r in
w estern I r e la n d ,
waa a n a ly se d .
The study o f th e s o c i a l s tr u c tu r e
o f the "Deep South" made in N atch ez, M is s is s ip p i, dem onstrated the
e x is te n c e o f a White upper c a s t e and a Negro low er c a s t e , each d i ­
vid ed in t o s o c ia l c la s s e s .^ - C aste i s h ere d e fin e d as
a t h e o r e t ic a l arrangement o f the p eo p le o f a g iv e n group [ s o ­
c i e t y ] in an order in w hich the p r i v i l e g e s , d u t ie s , o b lig a t io n s ,
o p p o r tu n itie s , e t c . , are u n eq u a lly d is t r ib u t e d between th e
groups [ c a s t e s ] which are co n sid ered to be h ig h er and low er
. . . . where m arriage betw een two or more groups i s n o t san c­
tio n ed and where th ere i c no o p p o rtu n ity fo r members o f the
low er group to r i s e in t o th e upper groups or o f members o f th e
upper to f a l l In to th e low er o n e s. 2
T his system i s m ain tain ed in the South by l e g a l as w e l l as
u norganized s o c i a l s a n c tio n s .
A r i g i d c o lo r l i n e i s m aintained
and b e lie v e d to be n ecessa ry to p revent amalgamation o f th e r a c e s .
Laws p r o h ib it se a tin g o f Negroes and W hites In the same r a ilr o a d
car and oth er typ es of in t e r r a c ia l c o n ta c t as w e ll as in te r m a r r ia g e .
Separate w a itin g rooms, s c h o o ls , h o s p i t a ls , and o th er i n s t i t u t i o n s
are provided and Negro f a c i l i t i e s are as a r u le in f e r i o r to th o se
-
The r e s u lt s o f t h i s study w i l l appear in Deep South by
A llis o n DaviB and B u rleigh and Mary Gardner, soon to be p u b lish ed
by the U n iv e r s ity of Chicago P r e ss .
2
\V. L. YJarner, "American C aste and C la ss," American Journal
o f S o c io lo g y , XLII (Septem ber, 1 9 3 6 ), 234.
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4
fo r W h ites.
Negroes are g r e a tly r e s t r i c t e d as to o ccu p a tio n and
cannot l i v e in the b e t t e r r e s id e n t ia l areas*
They are e it h e r
barred or sep arated from W hites a t t h e a te r s and o th er p la c e s o f
amusement and r e c r e a tio n * in s t r e e t c a r s and b usses* and in r e s t a u ­
r a n ts and o th e r p u b lic p la c e s .
I t i s f e l t th a t u n le s s Negroes are
’’k ep t in th e ir p la c e ” s o c i a l e q u a lity w i l l r e s u l t In in term a r ria g e.
Fart o f tiie N egro's "place" in the Deep South i s th a t he d oes n o t
v o te , and f a i l u r e to ob serve the proper forms o f d efere n c e toward
members of th e upper c a s t e may be punished by whipping* b e a tin g ,
or ly n c h in g .
Not o n ly i s m arriage betw een Negroes and W hites pro­
h ib ite d * but a l l sex u a l c o n ta c t between Negro men and White women
i s r ig o r o u s ly tabooed.
Although White men have a c c e ss to Negro
women* c a s te i s a b a r r ie r to le g it im a t e d escen t and a l l c h ild r e n
o f su ch u n ion s b elo n g to the low er c a s t e .^
How does the s it u a t io n in Chicago d i f f e r from t h is system
which o p e r a te s in the South?
An Inform al seminar atten d ed by mem­
b ers of th e c l a s s in "Problems o f the Modern Community" d uring the
e a r ly months of 1937 was organized by P r o fe sso r Warner and Mr.
Horace R. Cayton who were a ls o in charge o f a r esea r ch p r o je c t
which oonducted a comprehensive study of the Negro community in
C hicago.
The seminar was devoted to v a r io u s phases o f the study
o f th e Negro community, and I s e le c t e d the problem o f t e s t i n g the
h y p o th e sis th a t Negro-White r e la t io n s h ip s were organ ized on th e
b a s is o f c a s t e in Chicago* as w e ll as In the South* by exam ining
c a se s o f in term arriage to fin d ou t under what circu m sta n ces they
*John D o lla r d , C aste and C la ss in a Southern Town (New Ha­
ven* 1937); \7. L. Warner and A llis o n Davis* "A Comparative Study
o f American C aste," Race R e la tio n s and th e Race Problem; a D e f in i­
t io n and an A n a ly s is , ed . by E. T. Thompson (Durham, N .C ., 1939);
H ortense Powdermakor, A fter Freedom (New York, 193 9 ); B u e ll Q.
G a lla g h er, American C aste and the Negro C o lle g e (New York. 1 9 3 8 ).
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
occur and whether or n o t endogamy i s en fo rced by stro n g a t t it u d e s
and s a n c tio n s .
As th e p r o h ib it io n o f in term arriage i s one o f the main
^
f e a t u r e s o f c a s te sy stem s, a c a r e f u l study o f th e s o c i a l c o n tr o ls j
and a t t it u d e s r ’rrounding Negro-W hite in term arriage should g iv e
strong in d ic a t io n o f th e absence or presence o f c a s t e fe a tu r e s in
the s o c i a l s tr u c tu r e .
I f Negro-W hite r e la t io n s h ip s are organ ized
on c a s t e l i n e s , we may ex p ect to f in d strong o p p o sitio n to i n t e r ­
m arriage from both groups and the a p p lic a tio n o f sev ere s o c ia l
sa n c tio n s when the r u le i s broken.
Infrequency of Interm arriage
would n ot b j I t s e l f be o f s ig n if ic a n c e .
Caste i s p resen t in the
s o c i a l str u c tu r e of Chicago o n ly i f the Whites and Negroes c o n s t i­
tu te endogamous groups of h ig h er and lower rank, sep arated by
stro n g s o c ia l d is t a n c e , and w ith unchangeable h e r e d ita r y member­
s h ip .
The m a te r ia l upon which t h is t h e s is i s based was secured
by r e fe r e n c e to the l i t e r a t u r e , p a r t ic u la r ly th a t on Negro-W hite
r e l a t io n s and In term a rria g e, and by in te r m itte n t f i e l d work during
th e y ea rs 1937, 1938, and 1939.
As th ere i s alm ost no p u b lish ed
m a te r ia l on Negro-W hite in term a r ria g e, the bulk o f the m a teria l
was secu red through p erson al in te r v ie w s w ith Negro and White men
and women who had In term arried and th e ir c h ild r e n , and w ith o th er
p erson s who knew o f such m arriages.
|
When I began t h is study I knew o f no Negro-W hite Interm ar■
r ia g e s in C hicago, so I attem pted to lo c a te them by in q u iry in th e
B
Negro community.
A number o f Negro s o c ia l w orkers, b u s in e s s men,
and o th e r s (and a ls o a few White p erso n s) d ir e c te d me to NegroV.Ulte f a m ilie s or to person s vfoo knew o f such f a m il ie s .
I soon
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lo c a te d a number o f I n t e r r a c ia l co u p les and th ey in turn d ir e c te d
me t o o th e r s when I spoke w ith them.
Most o f th e Negro-W hite co u ­
p le s whom I in terv iew ed were brought to my n o t ic e by o th er such
co u p les or t h e ir c h ild r e n ,
I sought to in te r v ie w members o f a s many in t e r r a c ia l fam i­
l i e s a s I could lo c a te in Chicago but d id n ot have s u f f i c i e n t tim e
to do s o .
In n e a r ly ev ery in s ta n c e th e in te r v ie w was conducted
in the home o f the s u b je c t.
O c ca sio n a lly I t r ie d to make an ap­
pointm ent by telep h o n e, b u t I found th a t i n most c a s e s ( u n le s s the
m eeting was arranged fo r me or I had a lread y e s t a b lis h e d c o n ta c t)
I wa3 b e s t a b le to g et an o p p o rtu n ity to e x p la in my purpose and
then secu re in fo rm a tio n from members o f Negro-W hite f a m il ie s by
c a l lin g a t t h e ir homes w ith o u t an appointment and in tro d u cin g my­
s e l f and my r e s e a r c h .
I s a id th a t I was a stu d en t a t the U n iver­
s i t y of Chicago and fr a n k ly s ta te d ray purpose.
In most c a s e s I
was I n v ite d to en te r th e houso and then secured an in te r v ie w , or
I was asked t o come back a t some oth er tim e.
Only tw enty per c en t
of the cou p les I approached r e fu se d to g iv e any in fo rm a tio n w h ile
the m a jo rity were more c o -o p e r a tiv e than I had a n t ic ip a t e d , a l ­
though o fte n a t f i r s t r e lu c t a n t to ta lk about th em selv es u n t i l a s ­
sured th a t the m a te r ia l would be tr e a te d a s c o n f id e n t ia l and th a t
th e ir names would not be u se d .*
With the a s s is ta n c e o f Dr. O liv er C. Cox and M ichael T.
I
3tephansko, then graduate stu d en ts in s o c io lo g y and a n th rop ology,
S
to got in form ation o f a type th a t cou ld be reduced to t a b le s .
I prepared a s e t o f " I n te r r a c ia l Marriage Study" sch ed u les d esig n ed
Many
of th e q u e stio n s used were taken from P ro fe sso r ]£. V/. B u rgess'
I
^ F ic t it io u s names have beon s u b s t it u t e d .
R e produ ce ! with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
7
''Marriage Study" q u e s tio n n a ir e .
The sch ed u les which w ere g iv e n
to most o f the Negro-W hite co u p les In terv iew ed c o n s is t o f id e n t ic a l
"Husband" and "Wife" sch ed u les and a "Family" sc h e d u le .
I f th e
couple was u n w illin g to f i l l out th e sc h e d u le s, I attem pted to g e t
the in form ation th e r e in in th e course o f th e in te r v ie w , and in a
number o f in sta n c e s I read th e q u estio n s and wrote in th e an sw ers.
The "Husband" and "Wife" sch ed u les in c lu d e q u estio n s such a s p la c e
and d a te o f b ir t h , n a tio n a l sto c k , y ea rs o f s c h o o lin g com p leted,
o ccu p a tio n , r e lig io u s a f f i l i a t i o n , church a tten d a n ce, h a p p in ess
of m arriage, and the l i k e ; th e "Family" sch ed u le asks th e p la c e
and d a te o f m arriage, number, s e x , a g e, e t c . o f c h ild r e n , circum ­
sta n ces in vtilch the couple m et, le n g th o f time b efo re engagement
and b e fo r e m arriage, and q u e stio n s a s to home ow nership, incom e,
and so f o r t h .
Whenever th e husband or w ife appeared t o be w i l l i n g to do
so I asked him or her to r e l a t e h i s l i f e h is t o r y and asked f o r ad­
d it io n a l comment on p o in ts w hich were n o t ad eq u a tely m entioned.
I encouraged my su b je c ts to t a lk f r e e ly about any to p ic th ey
thought im portant and t r ie d to e l i c i t in fo rm a tio n on a l l a s p e c ts
of Negro-White In term a rria g e.
My r o le was th a t o f a sym p ath etic
l i s t e n e r , a stu d en t in t e r e s t e d in g e t t in g in form ation fo r a s c i e n ­
t i f i c stu d y .
As most of my inform ants showed no o b je c tio n to t h is
procedure, or exp ected me to take n o te s on what they s a id , I r e ­
corded as much a s p o s s ib le of each in te r v ie w verb atim , f i l l i n g in
om itted words and p h rases a t th e e a r l i e s t o p p o rtu n ity .
m
In u few
in s ta n c e s I thought i t w ise to do no w r itin g in the p r e s e n c e o f
an inform ant, but remembered as much a s I cou ld o f the in te r v ie w
I
and made n o te s as soon as was p r a c tic a b le .
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of th e copyright owner. Fu rth er reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
A side from th e q u estio n s i n the sc h e d u le s, th ere were no
s e t q u e stio n s asked*
During the n a rra tio n o f l i f e h i s t o r i e s 1
fr e q u e n tly encouraged a d d itio n a l in fo rm a tio n by a s k in g , "what hap­
pened a f t e r th a t? '1 o r , " T ell me more about your ch ild h o o d ,"
C h il­
dren o f in term a rria g es were asked to ta lk about t h e ir parents*
m arriage a s w e ll as t h e ir own e x p e r ie n c e s.
In a d d itio n to a b s tr a c ts and e x c e r p ts from p rin ted so u r c e s,
my m a te r ia ls on Negro-W hite in term arriage in Chicago o o n s is t o f
about th ree hundred ty p ew ritten in te r v ie w s t o t a lin g c l o s e to a
m illio n w ords, and I n t e r r a c ia l M arriage Study sch ed u les answered
by members o f more than a hundred I n t e r r a c ia l f a m ilie s .^
There
are some f i f t y in te r v ie w s w ith Negro and White inform ants who were
n ot in t e r r a c ia l ly m arried b u t su p p lied in fo rm a tio n on in term a r ria g e.
These Inform ants were Negroes and W hites who had some c o n ta c t w ith
the Negro community.
They in clu d e newspaper r e p o r te r s , s o c ia l
w orkers, p r o fe s s o r s , s tu d e n ts , b u sin e ss men, members o f r a d ic a l
o r g a n iz a tio n s , h o u sew iv es, and o th e r s from whom Inform ation was
sought and ob tain ed concerning c a s e s o f in term a rria g e as w e ll as
a t t it u d e s toward such m arriage.
The la r g e s t and most im portant p o r tio n o f the d ata i s the
c lo s e to two hundred and f i f t y in te r v ie w s w ith members o f more than
one hundred and f i f t y Negro-W hite f a m il ie s .
These in te r v ie w s vary
in le n g th , but most of them c o n ta in f a i r l y d e t a ile d l i f e h i s t o r i e s
a 3 w e ll a s th e in fo rm a tio n upon which t h i s study of s o c i a l c o n tr o l
o f in term a rria g e i s b a sed .
Both husband and w ife were in terv iew ed
A d d itio n a l m a te r ia l on Negro-W hite r e la t io n s and i n t e r ­
m arriage i s con tain ed in many o f the ty p ew ritten in te r v ie w s secured
by in te r v ie w e r s on the p rev io u sly m entioned Negro community r e ­
search p r o je c t under the s u p e r v isio n of W. L. Warner and H. R, Cayton.
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
i f p o s s ib le , and two or th r e e in te r v ie w s were secu red from a num­
b er o f s u b j e c t s .
In s e v e r a l c a s e s a s e r i e s o f in te r v ie w s w ith one
or more members o f an I n t e r r a c i a l fa m ily r e s u lt e d in tw enty to
f i f t y pages o f m a te r ia l.
I attem pted to secu re a s much in fo rm a tio n a s p o s s ib le on
th e s o c ia l a s p e c ts o f Negro-W hite in term a rria g e b eca u se s o l i t t l e
a c t u a lly i s known about t h is s u b j e c t .
Only a s e c t io n o f th e data
could be used in t h i s t h e s is ; th e in fo rm a tio n co n ta in ed in the
sch ed u les and much o f th a t from the in te r v ie w s which d id n o t r e ­
l a t e to th e problem o f c a s t e and s o c i a l c o n tr o l o f in term a rria g e
w i l l , i t i s hoped, be p resen ted elsew h ere .
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
CHAPTER I I
FREQUENCY AND TRENDS OF NEGRO-WHITE INTERMARRIAGE
I t I s the o p in io n o f n e a r ly everyone who h as w r itte n on
the s u b je c t w ith in the l a s t h a lf-c e n tu r y t h a t n o t o n ly 1 b N egroWhite in term arriage o f In freq u en t o ccu rren ce in the s t a t e s where
I t l a n o t p ro h ib ite d by law , b u t th a t auch m arriages are d e c r e a s­
in g In number and in the p ercen ta g e th ey c o n s t it u t e o f m arriages
co n tra cted by N egroes,
I f we want to determ ine the e f f e c t i v e n e s s
of s o c ia l c o n tr o l in p rev en tin g m arriages o f a ty p e co n tra ry to
tho r u le s o f endogamy we must have some knowledge o f the a p p ro x i­
mate frequency o f such m a rria g es.
As a l i f e l o n g r e s id e n t o f Chicago I gain ed th e im p ressio n
th a t Negro-W hite m arriages w ere very uncommon, fo r c o u p le s who
have co n tra cted them are r a r e ly seen to g e th e r .
A fte r I began my
resea r ch i t became apparent th a t a very sm all p ercen ta g e o f N egroes
In Chicago wero m arried to W hites and th a t c l o s e to f o u r - f i f t h s
o f such m arriages v/ere o f Negro men and White women.
Of one hun­
dred and e ig h t y - e ig h t mixed f a m ilie s which I encou n tered (n o t i n ­
clu d in g an eq u al number o f which I heard but cou ld n ot c o n ta c t and
v e r if y b ecause they were dead, could n ot be lo c a te d , would not c o ­
o p era te, e t c . ) , the husband was Negro in one hundred and f o r t y cev&n In sta n ces and 'White in f o r t y - o n e .
Interm arriage o f Negroes and W hites i s fo rb id d en by law in
a l l o f the sou thern and border s t a t e s , in c lu d in g D elaw are, and in
a l l o f tho s t a t e s weBt o f the M is s is s ip p i R iver e x c e p t M innesota,
10
with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Iowa, Kansas, Hew M exico, and W ashington.
I t I s n o t p r o h ib ite d
by s t a t u t e In any o f th e rem aining northern and e a s te r n s t a t e s
ex cep t In d ia n a .^
Ho reoord I s made o f the ra ce or c o lo r o f p er­
sons who marry in C hicago, and none o f the e ig h te e n s t a t e s which
perm it le g a l in term a rria g e p u b lis h s t a t i s t i c s o f m arriages by c o lo r
w ith th e ex ce p tio n o f Hew York fo r th e area o f th e s t a t e e x c lu s iv e
of New York C ity .
Some a d d itio n a l data fo r o th er s t a t e s and c i t i e s
has been secured and p u b lish ed by authors who had a c c e ss to lo c a l
r e c o r d s.
Most o f th e se f ig u r e s were gath ered s e v e r a l decades ago,
and o n ly .f o r th e c i t y o f B oston do we have s u f f i c i e n t d ata to show
the trend over a lon g p erio d o f tim e.
The fo llo w in g ta b le s summa­
r iz e the p r in c ip a l a v a ila b le in fo rm a tio n :
TABLE 1®
INTERMARRIAGES OF WHITE AND COLORED IN MICHIGAN, 1874-93
White Males Married to
White Fem ales Married to
T o ta l
P eriods
1874-78
1879-83
1884-88
1889-93
20 y e a r 8 ,
1874-93
1874-83
1884-93
Black
Females
M ulatto
Females
2
1
1
2
5
2
4
1
8
8
21
10
7
12
14
13
22
23
40
26
6
12
47
46
111
B lack
Males
M ulatto
Males
1 mixed m arriage to every 6 ,2 2 0 p erso n s m arried
1 mixed m arriage to every 7 ,9 3 1 p erson s m arried
aF. L. Hoffman, "Race T r a its and T endencies o f th e Ameri­
can Negro," P u b lic a tio n s of the American Economic A s s o c ia tio n , XI,
tios. 1 , 2 , and 3 (A ugust, 1 8 9 6 ), 198.
P h ilip W ittenberg, "M iscegenation," E n cyclopaedia o f th e
S o c ia l S c ie n c e s , X, 532. For the h is to r y o f m isceg e n a tio n and in ­
term arriage in the Unite«.i S ta te s s in c e c o lo n ia l tim es s e e E. B.
R eu ter, Race M ixture: S tu d ies in Interm arriage and M iscegen ation
(New York, 1 9 3 1 ).
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
12
TABLE 2“
INTERMARRIAGES OP WHITES AND COLORED IN RHODE
ISLAND AND CONNECTICUT, 1881-1893
A. Humber o f Cases
Year
Rhode Isla n d
Providence
C o n n ecticu t
1881
1882
1883
1084
1885
1886
1887
1888
1889
1890
1891
1892
1893
No retu rn
No retu rn
6
2
7
7
7
4
5
3
10
4
3
5
5
1
3
6
4
7
4
4
2
5
3
3
No re tu r n
No re tu r n
7
4
6
6
3
8
6
8
7
6
4
58 (51 White
fe m a le s,
7 White
m ales)
T o ta l
52
65
B. Rate o f Interm arriagea to Persons M arried;
Rhode Isla n d
1884-88; 1 to 1 ,0 1 2
1889-93: 1 to 1 ,3 2 7
Providence
C o n n ecticu t
1881-85; 1 to 579 ~ 1882-88; 1 t o 1 ,9 5 1
1886-90; 1 to 612
1889-93; 1 to 2 ,0 3 6
1891-94; 1 to 1 ,0 3 0
^loffm an, "Race T r a its and T endencies .
PP. 1 9 9 -2 0 0 .
TABLE 3
MIXED MARRIAGES IN BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, 1855-90
Years
T o ta l
1855-59
1862-66
1867-71
1873-77
1878-82
1882-87
1890
50
45
88
172
121
124
24
Average per Annum
1 0 .0
9 .0
1 7 .6
3 4 .4
2 4 .2
2 4 .8
2 4 .0
/
I b i d ., p . 200.
I
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
TABLE 4
NEGRO-WHITE MARRIAGES IN BOSTON, MASS., 1900-04;
Years
1900-04
1914-18
1919-23
1924-28
1929-33
1934-38
Both
T o ta l
M arriages Negro
5 0,576
4 9,513
4 4,571
3 8 ,3 8 8
4 1,508
907
1624
1501
1411
1077
1242
Negro Groom
White B ride
No. P er cen t­
age o f
Negro
Grooms
133
68
42
41
36
40
1 2 .8
4 .0
2 .7
2 .8
3 .2
3 .1
8.
White Groom
Negro B ride
No. P e r c e n t­
age o f
Negro
B rid es
10
21
6
12
4
7
1 .1
1 .3
0 .4
0 .8
0 .4
0 .6
1914-38
I)
Negro-W hite
Average per
Annum
2 8 .6
1 7 .8
9 .6
1 0 .6
8 .0
9 .4
aA. H. S to n e, S tu d ie s In th e American Race Problem (New
York, 1 9 0 8 ), p . 6 2 .
bUnpubliaihed f ig u r e s co p ied from the reco rd s fo r P r o fe sso r
Louis Wlrth and H. Goldhamer In co n n ectio n w ith the study o f th e
Negro In America under th e d ir e c t io n o f Gunnar Myrdal.
TABLE 5a
INTERMARRIAGE IN NEW YORK CITY (BOROUGHS
OF MANHATTAN AND BRONX), 1908-12
T otal m arriages
...........................
101,854
2 ,2 6 0
Man U .S .N egro—woman N e g r o ........................................................... .....
Man U .S . Negro—woman White . . . . . . . . .
........................
41
V/oman U .S . Negro--man N e g r o ..............................................
2 ,4 7 2
Woman U .S . Negro—man White
..................................................
11
Per c en t o f U .S . Negroes m arried t o White p erson s . . . .
1 .0 8
Per c en t o f U .S . Negro grooms m arried to White b r id e s . .
1 .7 8
Per cen t o f U .S . Negro b r id e s m arried to White grooms . .
0 .4 4
Data secured from 10 1 ,8 5 4 m arriage l i c e n s e s s e le c t e d fo r
a 5 -y ea r p e r io d . M arriages o f fo r e ig n -b o r n Negroes ex clu d ed .
J u liu s D ra ch sler, In term arriage in New York C it y .
with perm ission of th e copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
14
TABLE 6
NEGRO-WHITE MARRIAGES IN NEW YORK STATE,
EXCLUSIVE OP NEW YORK CITY, 1916-57
A# ■Summary o f D ata—1916-24
" N eg lig ib le"
2.8
Per con t o f C olored b rid es m arried to White grooms
Per c e n t o f C olored grooms m arried to White b rid es
B, 1925-37
White Groom
Negro B ride
Negro Groom
White B ride
Year
Both
White
1925
1926
1927
1928
1929
1930
1931
1932
1935
1936
1937
Both
Negro
P er cen t­
age o f
Mo.
Negro
Grooms
P ercen t­
P ercen t­
age o f
age o f
No.
White
Negro
B rid es
B rid es
P er cen t­
age o f
White
Grooms
872
4 3 ,2 4 2
4 4,592
993
963
44 ,9 8 0
43 ,8 3 4
982
4 7,584 1 ,0 3 5
4 5,306 1 ,0 0 5
4 4,326 1 ,0 0 0
959
4 1,245
13
25
38
34
22
'25
21
17
1 .5
2 ,5
3 ,8
3 ,3
2 .1
2 ,4
2 .1
1 .7
0 .0 3
.0 6
.0 8
.0 8
.0 5
.06
.0 5
.0 4
8
6
6
13
7
--4
4
>
0 .9
0 .6
0 .6
1 .3
0 .7
0 .4
0 .4
0 .5
0 .0 2
.0 1
.0 1
.0 3
.0 1
.0 1
.0 1
.0 1
58,989 1 ,0 3 4
6 8,196 1 ,5 1 8
6 4,491 1 ,4 2 3
9
19
22
0 .9
1 .2
1 .5
.0 2
.0 3
0 .0 3
11
9
9
1 .1
0 .6
0 .6
.0 2
.0 1
0 .0 1
T. J . W oofter, J r . 5 "The S ta tu s o f R a cia l and E thnic
Groups," R ecent S o c ia l Trends in th e U nited S ta te s ( 1 - v o l. e d .;
New York, 1 9 3 4 ), p . 599.
New York S ta te Department o f H e a lth , Annual R ep o rts, 192537.
I t i s apparent from th e se t a b le s , a s from my o b serv a tio n s
in C hicago, th a t,w h eth er or not p erm itted by law , Negro-W hite in t e r ­
m arriage in the U nited S ta te s i s h e ld to a n e g li g ib le minimum, and
th a t Negro men marry White women much more fr e q u e n tly than White
men marry Negro women.
As Negroes c o n s t it u t e a sm all f r a c t io n o f
the p o p u la tio n , i f mating were com p letely a t random w e ll over n in e ty
per c e n t of Negro b r id e s and grooms throughout the North would marry
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16
Whites and in many c i t i e s a s i g n i f i c a n t number o f White sp o u ses,
about seven or e ig h t per c en t in C hicago, would marry N egroes,
In a c tu a l p r a c tic e we f in d that in northern c i t i e s and s t a t e s a
very sm all p ercen tage o f Negro men and women marry W hites, w h ile
hardly one White b r id e and fa r l e s s than one White groom in a thou­
sand break th e ta b o o .
Hoffm an's in term a rria g e f ig u r e s fo r M ichigan, Rhode I sla n d ,
and C on n ecticu t do n o t cover a lon g enough p erio d t o show much In
th e way o f tren d , but seem t o I n d ic a te some d im in u tion in the r a te
of in term a rria g e by 1890.
He g iv e s the r a te s o f in term a rria g e in
terms of th e r a t i o of such m arriages to p erso n s married w ith o u t
g iv in g th e p ro p o rtio n of Negro or White sp ou ses in v o lv e d in th ese
mixed u n io n s.
T herefore h i s r a t e s fo r th e d if f e r e n t s t a t e s are
n o t comparable.
D r a c h s le r 's study o f in term arriage in New York C ity was
p rim a rily concerned w ith the in term a rria g e o f p erson s o f v a rio u s
European n a t i o n a l i t i e s .
The t o t a l sample c o n s is t s o f d a ta secu red
from m arriage l i c e n s e s s e le c t e d f o r a f iv e - y e a r p erio d from th e
boroughs o f Manhattan and Bronx.
I f t h is sample i s a c c u r a te , the
r a te of Negro-W hite in term a rria g e i s extrem ely low in New York C ity .
Ths data f o r New York S t a t e , e x c lu s iv e o f New York C ity , are more
com plete and show some d ec r e a se in the p ercen ta g e o f Nogro grooms
marrying White b r id e s a fte r 1928.
Two s ig n if ic a n t tren d s are in d ic a te d by the Boston f ig u r e s .
The most apparent i s th a t Negro-W hite m arriages have beon fewer in
a b so lu te a s w e ll a s r e l a t i v e numbers s in c e the World War.
The o th ­
er i s th a t m arriages o f White grooms and Negro b r id e s have n o t d ecreased to any e x te n t and c o n s titu te d 18 per c e n t o f the Negro-White
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
16
m arriages during the y e a r s 1918 to 1958 as a g a in s t 7 per c e n t from
1900 to 1904.
My Im pression i s th a t in a l l p r o b a b ilit y the p ercen ta g e o f
Negroes who marry W hites i s lower throughout the North than i t was
b efo re th e World War, a lth o u g h in many com m unities such m arriages
have n o t d ecreased in number because o f g r e a t in c r e a se s in th e Ne­
gro p o p u la tio n .
We m ight ex p ect th a t as Negroes become a la r g e r
p ercen tage o f the p o p u la tio n o f a community th e p ro p o rtio n who
marry out of th e ir group w i l l tend to d e c r e a se ,b o th becau se th ere
i s a w id er c h o ic e w ith in the Negro group and because a g r e a te r pro­
p o rtio n of W hites would o th erw ise be req u ired to marry o u t .
If,
fo r exam ple, a c i t y co n ta in ed 5 0 ,0 0 0 White p erso n s and o n ly 50 Ne­
groes te n per c e n t o f the N egroes m ight marry Whites and o n ly ,0 1
per c e n t o f the White p o p u la tio n would make up the n e c e ssa r y spou­
ses,
I f , however, a mass m ig ra tio n in c r e a se d the Negro p o p u la tio n
to 5 ,0 0 0 w h ile the White p o p u la tio n rem ained s t a t io n a r y , one per
cen t o f the W hites would have to marry Negroes to m ain tain the ten
per c e n t outm arriage r a te fo r N egroes,
One cou ld h ard ly ex p ect th e
percentage of White person s w ill in g to v i o l a t e th e se v e r e taboo on
in term a rria g e t o in c r e a s e one h u n d red fold , alth ou gh the t o t a l num­
ber o f Negro-W hite m arriages would no doubt be in cr ea se d w h ile the
p ercen tage o f Negroes c o n tr a c tin g them d e c r e a se d .
In many n orth ern c i t i e s th ere h a s been in c r e a se d seg reg a ­
tio n o f N egroes a s they m igrated in la r g e r numbers from the sou th
and th is would imply a stren g th en in g o f the taboo on in term a r ria g e,
'illere i s no doubt th a t t h i s i 3 tru e in Chicago a lth ou gh th ere are
no m arriage data to prove i t .
Most of my inform ants thought th a t
p reju d ice a g a in s t th e Negro and a g a in s t in term arriage has in crea sed
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
in Chicago, p a rtic u la rly since the m igration of thousands of Ne­
g ro es to ttie c i t y during 1916 to 1916*
B efore t h i s in f lu x th ere
were Negro neighborhoods in C hicago, but th ey co n ta in ed White r e s i ­
d en ts a s w e ll w h ile many Negroes liv e d in White com m unities.
Be­
tween 1910 and 1920 th e Negro p o p u la tio n o f Chicago in c r e a se d 1 4 8 .5
per c e n t , from 4 4 ,1 0 3 to 1 0 9 ,5 9 4 .
The main Negro community became
in c r e a s in g ly Negro in p o p u la tio n and expanded o n ly in th e fa c e o f
g r e a t h o s t i l i t y and organ ized o p p o sitio n from White p rop erty owners
and r e a l - e 3ta te i n t e r e s t s .
The Chicago Commission on Race R ela ­
t io n s rep orteds
M eetings were h e ld , a newspaper was p u b lish e d , and l i t e r a ­
tu re was d is t r ib u t e d . R a c ia l antagonism was stro n g i n the
sp eech es a t th e se m eetings and in the new spapers. The m eet­
in g which probably marked the f i r s t fo c u s in g o f a t t e n t io n on
th e Kenwood and Hyde Park d i s t r i c t s was h eld May 5 , 1919, when
th e sentim ent was exp ressed th a t Negro in v a sio n o f th e d i s t r i c t
was th e worse ca la m ity th a t had stru ck the c i t y s in c e th e Great
F ir e . A prominent w hite r e a l - e s t a t e man sa id s "Property owners
should bo n o t i f i e d to stand to g eth er b lo ck by b lo ck and p reven t
such in v a sio n ."
B la ir , a r e a l - e s t a t e agen t [In whose name had appeared a
newspaper ad vertisem ent c a l lin g to "Colored A tten tion " homes
f o r s a le in a White neighborhood 1, d en ied a l l knowledge o f th e
ad vertisem en t and a ttr ib u te d i t e it h e r to an enemy or to a
p r a c t ic a l Joker. He sent n o t ic e s to be read th e f o llo w in g day
in the n in e churches o f th e d i s t r i o t , so s t a t in g , d e p lo r in g
th e occurrence and p led g in g h im s e lf to a id the o th er r e s id e n t s
in ex clu d in g Negroes and in h u nting down the author o f th e ad­
v e r tise m e n t.
Meanwhile,
m eeting c a lle d
m eetin g, which
Park Manor and
th e e n t ir e d i s t r i c t had been arou sed , and a
. . . .
About 1 ,0 0 0 p eop le gath ered f o r th is
was conducted by the p r e s id e n ts o f the South
Wakeford Improvement A s s o c ia tio n s . . . . .
Other sp eak ers a t the m eeting were a r e a l - e s t a t e d e a le r
and an alderman. C onsiderable in d ig n a tio n was exp ressed over
the f a l s e li g h t in which the community had been p la c e d . Even
th e su g g estio n th a t Negroes might by chance become a p art o f
t h is community seemed to be a b h orren t. . . . .
A form o f organ ized r e s is t a n c e to the coming o f Negroes
in to new neighborhoods was the bombings o f th e ir homes and the
homes of r e a l - e s t a t e men, w hite and Negro, who were known or
supposed to have s o ld , le a s e d , or ren ted lo c a l p rop erty to them.
I
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18
Prom J u ly 1 , 1917* to March 1* 1921, the Negro h ou sin g
problem was marked by f i f t y - e i g h t bond) e x p lo s io n s . Two p er­
s o n s, b oth N egroes, were k i l l e d , a number o f w h ite and co lo r e d
p erson s were In ju red , and th e damage to p roperty amounted to
more than $100, 0 0 0 .1
Another in d ic a tio n of r a c i a l f e e l in g in Chicago a f t e r the
m igration o f Negroes from the South during th e war p erio d was th e
race r i o t o f J u ly 27th to August 2 , 1919, in which 38 person s were
k i l l e d and 537 were in ju r e d . 2
Between 1920 and 1930 th e Negro p o p u la tio n o f Chicago again
more than doubled to reach 2 3 3 ,9 0 3 .
Negroes c o n s titu te d two per
cen t o f the c i t y ' s p o p u la tio n in 1910, fou r per ce n t in 19 2 0 , and
n e a r ly seven per cen t in 1930.
They are con cen trated in seg reg a ted
areas o u ts id e o f which i t i s alm ost im p o ssib le fo r them to r e n t or
buy homes b ecause o f covenants and sentim ent a g a in s t p erm ittin g
Negroes t o l i v e i n White neighborhoods.
The p ro cess o f c o n c e n tr a tin g Negroes i n seg reg a ted areas
h as been con tinuous s in c e 1910. In th a t year tw en ty-fou r per
cen t o f tho Negro p o p u la tio n liv e d in areas in which n in e t y f i v e per cen t o f the p eop le were w h ite . In 1934, however, on ly
th ree per c e n t o f the Negro p o p u la tio n liv e d in such a r e a s .
In lwlO th e area w ith the h ig h e s t co n cen tra tio n of Negroes was
one in which tho Negro p o p u la tio n was between s ix t y and s i x t y n in e per c e n t o f the t o t a l . In 1934, however, e ig h ty -s e v e n per
ce n t o f Negroes liv e d in a r e a s which were over seven ty per cen t
Negro in p o p u la tio n and s ix t y - n in e per cen t in areas which were
between [n in e ty and) n in e ty -n in e per cen t N egro.3
lh e r e are o th er in d ic a tio n s th a t s o c ia l d ista n c e between
Negroes and Vdiites in Chicago and other northern c i t i e s has i n ­
crea sed s in c e the turn o f th e cen tu ry .
A l i g h t brown Negro woman
whose grandparents came to Chicago b e fo r e the C iv il V/ar and la t e r
acquired c o n sid era b le w ealth sa id :
V e
Negro In Chicago (C hicago, 1 9 2 2 ), pp. 116, 1 1 8 -1 9 , 122.
2
'Ib lcU , pp# 1 -S 2 .
3
Horace Cayton, "Negroes h iv e in Chicago," The Beacon. I
(December, 1 9 3 7 ), 8 .
*
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19
I was
s a id she
t i l l th e
and when
y e a r s go
changed.
r a is e d In a White neighborhood...................My grandmother
d id n 't know any d if f e r e n c e between White and Colored
contrabands came In from th e South* They were s la v e s
they s e t t l e d s o th ic k ly ra ce p r eju d ice began. As th e
an and m ig ra tio n becomes so g r e a t th e atmosphere
Chicago used to be a heaven f o r Colored people.^-
A Negro o f f i c i a l o f a s o c i a l - s e r v i c e i n s t i t u t i o n s a id o f
the s it u a t io n in th e 1890»s :
Chicago a t th a t tim e d id n 't have any p r e ju d ic e s . I t was
known a s a n ic e town to l i v e i n . Chicago a tt r a c t e d p eop le
who had made mixed m arriages because i t was a n ic e c i t y , known
fo r th e sibsence o f p r e ju d ic e ......................But Negro-W hite i n t e r ­
m arriage has never been o f much im portance h e r e . There has
never been much in term a rria g e i n C hicago. I t h as o n ly played
an in f i n i t e s i m a l r o le in the t o t a l s o c ia l l i f e o f th e communi­
ty . 2
As wounded f e e l i n g s caused by th e C iv il War began to h e a l,
and w ith m ig ra tio n o f southern W hites as w e ll a s Negroes to the
North and o f n o rth ern ers to the South, th e r e g io n a l d if f e r e n c e in
a t t it u d e s reg a rd in g th e Negro le s s e n e d .
According to Guy B. John­
son of th e U n iv e r s ity of North C arolina:
A ll o b serv ers are agreed th a t northern w hite o p in io n has
become more p re ju d ic e d , more l i k e orthodox sou thern o p in io n ,
s in c e the wave o f Negro m ig ra tio n to the N orth. The m ig ra tio n
has reduced th e r a c i a l p ressu re in some southern areas on ly
to in c r e a s e i t in n orth ern c i t i e s .
In some p la c e s th e s e d is c r im in a tio n s are the e x c e p tio n ,
b u t g e n e r a lly they are the r u le , and they seem to be in c r e a s ­
in g . More and more, Negroes in the North, as in the South,
are li v i n g to th em selv es.''
A Negro p h y sic ia n , son o f an in t e r r a c ia l c o u p le , s a id o f
the tren d o f ra ce r e la t io n s during h is li f e t im e in Chicago:
■
I th in k th ey are co n sid era b ly worse than they were f i f t y
y e a r s ago. There i s more p r eju d ice now and i t has been e s p e ­
c i a l l y n o tic e a b le sin c e the v/ar. I th in k th a t i s because so
many poor Negroes from th e South came sin ce th en . 4
g
P erso n a l in te r v ie w .
P erson al in te r v ie w .
Chapter on ’’Negro-White R ela tio n s" in T. J . Woof t e r , J r . ,
Races and E thnic Groups in American L ife (New York, 1 9 3 3 ), pp. 198,
199.
4
P erson al in te r v ie w .
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1
20
Another fa c to r i n the d e c r e a se In th e p ercen ta g e o f Negroes
marrying W hites i s undoubtedly the in cr ea se d s o l i d a r i t y o f th e Ne­
gro group which has been d ev elo p in g sep a ra te i n s t i t u t i o n s and o r­
g a n iz a tio n s o f i t s own.
Some o f t h is sep a ra tio n h a s been v o lu n ta ry
on the p art o f Negroes a s in the c a s e o f th e developm ent o f t h e ir
own churches and b u sin e ss e s ta b lis h m e n ts.
Once more I quote 0 . B.
Johnson;
. . . . F in d in g the door to eq u al p a r t ic ip a t io n c lo s e d , the
Negro h as long s in c e co n cen tra ted h is e f f o r t s upon b u ild in g
a c u ltu re on h is s id e of the f e n c e , a c u ltu r e w herein he cou ld
ach iev e s e c u r it y , s o c i a l s t a t u s , and p erso n a l developm ent as
a Negro.
Hand in hand w ith t h i s tren d toward r a c i a l se p a r a tio n ,
p a r tly cause and p a r tly r e s u l t of i t , has gone a growth o f Ne­
gro ra ce c o n s c io u s n e s s, th a t i s a c o n sc io u sn e ss o f group u n ity
and group purpose. The growth o f r a c i a l p rid e and o f a r a c i a l
t r a d it io n , l i t e r a t u r e , and a r t has been phenomenal. . . . .^
On th e b a s is o f th e B oston and New York S ta te data in Ta­
b le s 4 and 6 i t i s p o s s ib le to make some s o r t o f estim a te o f the
probable freq u en cy o f Negro-W hite in term a rria g e in C hicago.
Of
a l l th e p la c e s for which we have d a ta , th e r a te o f such m arriages
i s h lg h e s t in B oston .
I t i s probable that the p ercen tage o f Ne­
groes marrying W hites has been somewhat lower in Chicago than in
B oston, e s p e c ia l ly during the l a s t tw e n ty -fiv e y e a r s when B o sto n 's
Negro p o p u la tio n in c r e a se d but m oderately w h ile C hicago, l i k e many
northern c i t i e s , r e c e iv e d g r e a t numbers o f Negro m igran ts from the
South.
As accuracy i s n ot p o s s ib le because o f th e s c a n tin e s s o f
the d a ta , rough c a lc u la t io n w i l l s u f f i c e .
The g r e a t m a jo rity o f
marriage l i c e n s e s is s u e d in Cook County, I l l i n o i s , a re no doubt
fo r m arriages performed in Chicago which co n ta in s 85 per c en t o f
the t o t a l p o p u la tio n and 95 per c en t o f the Negro p o p u la tio n o f th e
county. ,
"Negro-White R e la tio n s ," op. c i t . , pp. 1 9 9 -2 0 0 .
I
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The fo llo w in g e s tim a te s are made by assuming th a t th e an­
nual number o f m arriages o f Negroes In Chicago i s n e a r ly eq u al to
the p ercen ta g e o f t o t a l m arriages in Cook County th a t N egroes con­
s t it u t e d o f th e t o t a l p o p u la tio n o f Chioago a t th e n e a r e s t cen su s
d a te .
The p ercen tage o f Negro grooms and b r id e s m arried to White
p ersons i s assumed n ot to exceed th a t o f B oston fo r the same p e r io d .
On t h i s b a s i s , we may assume th at during the decade from
1885 to 1894 th ere was an average o f approxim ately 160 m arriages
o f Negroes in Chicago per annum.
The n e a r e st p erio d fo r which the
r a te o f Negro outm arriage in Boston i s g iv e n i s fo r the y e a r s 1900
to 1904 when th e p ercen ta g es were 12 ,8 fo r Negro grooms and 1 .1
fo r Negro b r id e s .
I f we apply th e se r a t e s to C hicago, we fin d th a t
from 1885 to 1894 about 20 Negro men and 2 Negro women m arried White
persons each y e a r .
T his i s n ea rly equal to the average number o f
in term a rria g es per annum in B oston during the same y e a r s , when the
Negro p o p u la tio n o f Chicago was s l i g h t l y g r e a te r than th at o f Bos­
ton .
Between 1895 and 1904 about 360 Negro men, and n e a r ly a s
many Negro women, were married an n u ally in C hicago.
During th ese
years 1 2 .8 per c e n t of Negro grooms and 1 .1 per c en t o f Negro b r id e s
in Boston m arried W hites.
At t h is r a te about 46 Negro men m arried
White women and 4 White men married Negro women per annum in C hi­
cago.
I t may be noted th a t between 1900 and 1904 th ere were 2 8 .6
Negro-White m arriages per annum in Boston w ith a Negro p o p u la tio n
th at was about o n e -th ir d th a t o f Chicago w h ile a s l i g h t l y la r g e r
per cen t of the Boston p op u lation was Negro.
Between 1905 and 1914 th ere were some 400 to 600 m arriages
of Negro mon and Negro women each year in C hicago.
We do n ot have
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22
data f o r t h e s e years from B oston , but a s th e drop In r a te o f i n t e r ­
m arriage e v id e n tly began during t h is p e r io d , we may assume th a t
about 8 per c e n t o f Negro grooms and 1 per c en t o f Negro b r id e s
married White p erso n s.
I f we u se th e s e p ercen ta g es f o r Chicago
we may e s tim a te th a t about 40 Negro men and 5 Negro women m arried
White persons each year during th e decade b efo re th e World War,
For th e y ea rs a f t e r 1915, d a ta from New York S ta te as w e ll
as B oston are a v a ila b le .
The B oston f ig u r e s show a marked drop in
th e r a te o f in term arriage o f Negro men betw een 1904 and 1914, but
n o t much change t h e r e a f t e r .
The New York S ta te f ig u r e s show some
d e c lin e in the p ercen ta g e o f Negro grooms marrying White b rid es
a f t e r 1928.
During th e decade from 1915 to 1924 th ere were approx­
im ately 1,400 to 1,700 m arriages o f Negroes in Chicago each y e a r .
The B oston in term a rria g e r a te (1 9 1 4 -2 3 ) was 3 .4 per cen t fo r Negro
men and 0 .9 per c en t f o r Negro women, w h ile 2 .8 per cen t o f Negro
grooms m arried White b r id e s in New York S ta te (1 9 1 6 -2 4 ).
Because
of th e rea so n s p r e v io u s ly m entioned, i t would seem th a t a f t e r 1915
the Chicago in term arriage ra te was probably lower than th a t of
B oston .
I f 2 .8 per c e n t o f Negro grooms and 0 .7 per cen t o f Negro
b r id e s m arried White p erso n s, approxim ately 42 Negro men married
White women and 10 White men married Negro women per annum in Chi­
cago from 1915 to 1924.
S in ce 1925 (b ased on data f o r 1925-32 and 1935-37) an a v er­
age o f 2 .1 per cen t o f Negro grooms and 0 .7 per cen t o f Negro
b r id e s in New York S ta te have married White p erso n s.
The Boston
r a te from 1924 to 1958 wan 2 ,9 per cent fo r Negro grooms and 0 .6
per c e n t fo r Negro b r id e s .
During the y ea rs sin c e 1925 th ere has
been co n sid era b le f lu c t u a t io n in t o t a l m arriages per y e a r , but the
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23
annual number of Chicago m arriages in v o lv in g N egroes was probably
somewhere betw een 2 ,0 0 0 and 2 ,8 0 0 .
Based on an average of 2 ,4 0 0
Negro m arriages and the low er o f th e New York and Boston in term ar­
r ia g e r a t e s ( 2 .1 per c e n t and 0 .6 per c e n t ) , approxim ately 50 Ne­
gro men married White women and 14 White men m arried Negro women
in Chicago each year from 1925 to 1 9 3 8 .^
These e stim a te s o f th e r a te and number o f Negro-W hite i n t e r ­
m arriages in Chicago sin c e 1885 are summarized in Table 7 .
They
may be as much as f i f t y per cen t to o h ig h or to o low fo r some y e a r s ,
b u t, I b e li e v e , in d ic a te the g e n e r a l trend w ith rea so n a b le a ccu ra cy .
TABLE 7
ESTIMATED RATE AND NUMBER OF NEGRO-WHITE
MARRIAGES IN CHICAGO, 1885-1938
T o ta l
Mar­
r ia g e s
per An­
num
(Coun­
t y )8
Years
1885-94
1895-1904
1905-14
1915-24
1925-38
12 ,0 0 0
20,000
2 5 ,0 0 0
38 ,0 0 0
3 8 ,0 0 0
P ercen t­
age o f
Popula­
t io n
Negro
1 .4
1 .8
2 .0
4 .1
6 .9
Negro
Mar­
r ia g e s
per An­
num
160
360
500
1500
2400
Negro Groom
White B ride
7/hite Groom
Negro B ride
P ercen t­ No. per
Annum
age o f
Negro
Grooms
P ercen t­ No. pel
Annum
age o f
Negro
B rid es
1 2 .8
12 .8
8 .0
2 .8
2 .1
20
46
40
42
50
1 .1
1 .1
1 .0
0 .7
0 .6
2
4
5
10
14
.
M arriages in Cook County by Y ears, The Chicago D a lly News
Almanac and Year Book f o r 1937. p . 859.
I f th e se e stim a te s of th e r a te of Negro-W hite in term a rria g e
in Chicago may be a cce p te d , th ere has been l i t t l e change in the an­
■Hlr. Sidney Sum m erfield, c h ie f elo rk o f th e Cook County
Marriage L icen se Bureau, r e p lie d to my q u estio n as to the number
of Negro-W hite m arriago3 i n Chicago* "About once a month a mixed
couple come to g eth er fo r a m arriage l i c e n s e b u t I would say th a t
probably f i v e tim es as many marry w ith only one person coming to
g e t the li c e n s e a s a r u le ."
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n u al number of m arriages o f Negro grooms to White b r id e s and an
In crea se i n m arriages o f White grooms to Negro b rid es s in c e 1895,
During the same p erio d o f y e a r s , th e percentage o f Negro grooms,
and to a l e s s e r degree o f b r id e s , who m arried White p erson s d e ­
creased markedly.
The rea so n fo r the f a i r l y uniform number o f Ne­
gro-W hite m arriages per annum in s p it e o f the drop in r a te i s , o f
c o u r se , th e g r e a t in c r e a se in C hicago’ s Negro p o p u la tio n w hich r o se
from about 23,000 In 1895 to 233,903 in 1930.
The p ercen tage o f
White b r id e s marrying Negro grooms shows a downward tren d , w h ile
the p ercen tage o f White grooms s e le c t in g Negro b r id e s i s somewhat
g rea te r a f t e r 1915 than b e f o r e .
Aocording to my c a l c u la t io n , th e
p rop ortion o f White b r id e s who m arried Negro grooms v a ried between
11 and 23 in 1 0 ,0 0 0 , and th a t o f White grooms who m arried Negro
b rid es,fro m 2 to 4 in 1 0 ,0 0 0 .
I f Table 7 i s a c c u r a te , th ere were about 2 ,2 0 0 m arriages
of Negro men to White women and 400 o f White men to Negro women
in Chicago between 1885 and 1938.
Approxim ately 1 ,5 0 0 ,0 0 0 m arriage
lic e n s e s were issu e d in Cook County during t h is p erio d , o f which
at l e a s t 1 ,3 0 0 ,0 0 0 r e p r e se n t Chicago m arriages.
This g iv e s an a v ­
erage o f one Hegro-Yihite in term a rria g e to every 500 m a rria g es, or
one to every 1 ,000 p erson s m arried. 1
I have made no attem pt to estim a te the number of in term a r­
r ia g e s in Chicago fo r the y ea rs p rio r to 1885 because the Negro pop­
u la t io n of the c i t y was so sm all (958 in 1860 and 6 ,4 8 0 in 1880)
th at n ot many v/ero married per annum.
There i s l i t t l e doubt, how-
■^By way o f comparison i t may be noted th a t the hom icide r a te
g r e a tly exceed s the in term arriage r a t e , th e annual number o f homi­
c id e s In Chicago averaging 456 during the y ea rs 1925 to 1 9 3 6 .(F . L.
Hoffman, "The Homicide R ecord," 1925-1936, p u b lish ed a n n u a lly dur­
ing th a t p eriod in The S p e c ta to r . A p ril 1 , 1 9 2 6 -A p ril 2 9 , 1 9 3 7 .)
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e v e r , th a t th e p ercen tage of Negro grooms who m arried White women
was as h ig h a s in th e fo llo w in g tw enty y e a r s .
The g r e a t e s t num­
ber o f mixed m arriages per annum in Boston was a t t a in e d between
1875 and 1877.
My o ld e s t Inform ants were ab le to r e c a l l q u ite a
number o f m arriages o f Negro men to White women in Chicago between
1860 and 1885, and I was ab le to lo c a te s e v e r a l o f th e c h ild r e n
and to In terv iew two widows o f th e s e o ld in term a r ria g es.
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CHAPTER I I I
NEGRO-WHITE RELATIONS IN CHICAGO
In order to e x p la in th e rareneas o f In term arriages o f Ne­
groes and W hites i n Chicago i t i s n ecessa ry to examine the g en era l
p a ttern o f s o c ia l r e la t io n s between the two grou p s.
Mere chance
or in d iv id u a l p referen ce a lo n e co u ld n o t account fo r the near ab­
sence of such m arriages.
C a a te -llk e D iv is io n o f the S o c ie ty
A lthough each i s su b d ivid ed in to a h ier a rch y o f s o c ia l
c l a s s e s , th ere i s a sharp d iv is i o n between the su p ero rd in a te White
group and th e su bordinate Negro group.
i s h e r e d ita r y and permanent.
Membership in e ith e r group
The Negro cannot become a s s im ila t e d ,
or in corp orated in t o th e White community, b e c a u se o f e x te r n a l f e a ­
tu res which perm anently mark him.
He i s reco g n ized as one o f th e
subordinate Igroup by p h y sic a l symbols such as c o lo r , h a ir te x tu r e ,
and form o f n ose and l i p .
Many persons who show few or none o f
the p h y sic a l c h a r a c t e r is t ic s of the Negro sto ck are c la s s e d as Ne­
groes b ecau se of the s o c ia l d o c tr in e th a t a drop o f Negro blood
makes one a member of the low er group.
The cen su s of 1930 gave th e p o p u la tio n o f Chicago as
5 ,3 7 6 ,4 3 8 , in clu d in g 3 ,1 1 7 ,7 3 1 W hites, 233,903 N egroes, and 24,804
—l e s s than one per c e n t —o f oth er r a c e s .^
More than 84 0 ,0 0 0 o f
the Whites were fo r e ig n born and numerous c o lo n ie s o f v a rio u s n a The Chicago D a lly News Almanac fo r 1935. pp. 136, 92 3 .
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27
t i o n a l i t y groups are s c a tte r e d through the c i t y .
She g r e a t m a jo ri­
ty o f Negroes are co n cen tra ted in the South Side "Black B elt" w hich,
u n lik e the f o r e ig n c o lo n ie s which tend to d is p e r s e , has become more
homogeneous through th e years*
The Negro d i s t r i c t h as co n tin u ed
to spread southward from th e Loop, C h ica g o 's downtown b u s in e s s d i s ­
t r i c t , s in c e the time o f th e C iv il War.
In 1900 i t co n ta in ed a t
l e a s t f i f t y per cen t and i n 1920, n in e ty per c e n t o f th e Negroes
of the city.'*'
Most o f th e rem aining Negroes are se g r e g a te d in a
number of sm a ller com m unities ran gin g in s iz e from a few hundred
to s e v e r a l thousand p e r so n s.
When view ed in c o n tr a s t to th e r e s t
of the c i t y , th e "Black B elt" and i t s s a t e l l i t e Negro a r e a s , t o ­
gether w ith th e few Negroes l i v i n g in White n eigh b orh ood s, form a
community la r g e ly is o la t e d from th e c ity , as a whole by stro n g s o o
c i a l b a r r ie r s .
In th e North the Negro has more le g a l r ig h t s and g r e a te r
occu p atio n a l and ed u ca tio n a l o p p o r tu n itie s and f a c e s l e s s h u m ilia t­
ing form s o f d is c r im in a tio n than in the South.
N e v e r th e le s s , Ne­
groes are alm ost co m p letely barred from r e s id e n c e in most n eig h b o r­
hoods in Chicago and g e n e r a lly have to pay h ig h er r e n t s than W hites
fo r w -rse l i v i n g q u a r te r s.
Their o c cu p a tio n a l o p p o r tu n itie s are
la r g e ly lim ite d to m enial work and c e r t a in ty p e s o f in d u s t r ia l l a ­
b or, w ith most f i e l d s c lo se d to them or d i f f i c u l t to e n t e r .
The
e x iste n c e of the Negro p r o f e s s io n a l c l a s s i s dependent upon the
sep araten ess of th e Negro community from which i t r e c e iv e s i t s main
support.
In most r e s p e c ts p r i v i l e g e s , d u t ie s , o b lig a t io n s , and
^The Negro i n C hicago , pp. 139-40 .
2
Manuscript documents o f the as y e t u n p u b lish ed s o c i a l an­
th r o p o lo g ic a l study o f C h icago's Negro community made by W. L. Warn­
e r , 11. R. Cay to n , and a s s o c ia t e s .
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
o p p o r tu n itie s are u n eq u ally d is tr ib u te d to th e advantage o f the
W hites.
In th e South, Negro-W hite r e la t io n s are governed by "JimCrow" laws and a f ix e d code of c a s t e e t iq u e t t e which d e fin e the
ap p rop riate forms o f beh avior in n e a r ly a l l I n t e r r a c ia l s i t u a ­
t io n s .*
In C hicago, and th e North i n g e n e r a l, th e s e r e l a t io n s are
g e n e r a lly r e g u la te d by customs somewhat l e s s r i g i d and encom passing.
Much of th is d if f e r e n c e I s probably the r e s u lt o f th e d if f e r e n c e
In p rop o rtio n o f the p o p u la tio n which Negroes c o n s t it u t e In the
two r e g io n s .
White p eop le in Chicago g e n e r a lly g iv e but l i t t l e thought
to the "Negro problem" which in many s e c t io n s o f the South looms
as an ever p resen t th r e a t to the s t a t u s quo.
N e v e r th e le s s , in
s p it e o f c i v i l - r i g h t s l e g i s l a t i o n th a t p r o h ib its d is c r im in a tio n
and en fo rced se p a r a tio n o f th e r a c e s in p u b lic p la c e s —w hich sep a­
r a tio n i s req u ired by law in the southern s t a t e s — the s it u a t io n
i s much th e same a s in the South.
Custom serv es to li m it s o c ia l
in te r c o u r se between Negroes and W hites.
P ro p r ie to r s and managers
of many e sta b lish m e n ts which serv e th e p u b lic fr e q u e n tly do d i s ­
crim in ate a g a in s t or r e fu s e to admit Negro cu stom ers, in v io l a t io n
o f I l l i n o i s law but i n k eep in g w ith p u b lic sen tim en t.
Many Negroes
avoid r e sta u r a n ts and other p la c e s , which they would o th erw ise l i k e
to p a tr o n iz e , b ecau se they th in k th ey would n o t be welcom e.
They
seldom seek adm ission to White h o t e ls , barber sh op s, dance h a l l s ,
and many oth er p la c e s of li k e n a tu re.
Even on th e p u b lic beaches
Negroes and W hites g e n e r a lly rem ain a p a r t.
The s it u a t io n i s summed
*Cf. B. W. D oyle, E tiq u e tte o f Race R e la tio n s in th e South
(C hicago, 1 9 3 7 ).
with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
29
up In t h i s p a ssa g e from an e d i t o r i a l e n t i t l e d "Black and White In
Chicago" which appeared In the Chicago Tribune about tw enty y ea rs
ago:
We have been a b le to exten d th e e s s e n t i a l s o f c it iz e n s h ip
to th e Negroes f r e e l y because th e w h ites are dominant In num­
bers* A ll th e e s s e n t i a l s a re in th e p o s s e s s io n o f th e Kegrof
He I s not Jim-Crowed by la w . A l i n e i s drawn by u sa g e . The
law In f a c t fo r b id s what a c t u a lly I s done. I t i s a f u t i l e law
because i t en co u n ters I n s t i n c t .
L eg a lly a Negro has r i g h t to s e r v ic e anywhere th e p u b lic
g e n e r a lly I s serv ed . He does n o t g e t I t . W isely he d oes n ot
ask f o r i t . There has been an i l l e g a l , n o n - le g a l, or e x t r a l e g a l adjustm ent founded upon common sen se w hich has worked
in th e p a s t, and i t w i l l work in th e fu t u r e . 1
R e la tio n s between m aster and s la v e , and to some e x te n t b e­
tween the White and Negro c a s t e s o f the South to the p resen t day,
p erm itted a c e r t a in amount of Intim acy to e x i s t between members
2
o f the two grou p s.
Many southern W hites were e n tr u ste d to th e
care o f Negro "mammies"— even su ck led a t t h e ir b r e a s t s —and Negro
cooks and serv a n ts are commonly to be found in White households,.
I t i s known th a t th e fa th e r s o f many Negro c h ild r e n in th e South
were White men who in s p it e o f law and p u b lic o p in io n fr e q u e n tly
f e l t r e a l a f f e c t io n toward both m is tr e s s and o ffs p r in g .
In C hicago, W hites g e n e r a lly have l i t t l e p erso n a l c o n ta c t
w ith N egroes and a n tip a th y towards them o fte n exten d s to s it u a t io n s
w hich are p erm itted in the s o c ia l system o f the South.
d om estics are f a r from common in White h o u seh o ld s.
Thus, Negro
There i s con­
sid e r a b le p reju d ice a g a in s t a d m ittin g Negroes to White homes,
v/hether a s s o c i a l eq u a ls or as s e r v a n ts .
On c o n s u ltin g th e "Help
^The Negro in C hicago, p . 551.
S o t e j ; ' ® , " 643 - 6 « ! 88r*8 a tl°n’ "
i
<
w
«
g
o
^
of the Social
* - the
ai^ "
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30
Wanted--Women" columns o f the morning newspaper I found th a t o f
f i f t y ad vertisem en ts fo r h ousehold h e lp , t h i r t y - s i x s p e c if ie d
"White," t h ir t e e n made no statem en t w ith r e fe r e n c e to d e s ir e d co lo r
of a p p lic a n t, and one s a id , "White or c o lo r e d ," *
In e f f e c t , d e s p it e the absence of l e g a l d i s t i n c t i o n s , the
s o c ia l str u c tu r e of the la r g e r community sh arp ly d iv id e s the Negro
and White groups in Chicago alm ost a s in th e South.
The Negro com­
munity forms a sep a ra te s o c i a l world w ith in which most o f i t s mem­
b ers must c o n fin e th e ir primary s o c i a l r e la t io n s h ip s and many o f
th e ir other a c t i v i t i e s .
One o f a group o f i n t e l l i g e n t and p u b lic -
minded Negroes o f whom the Chicago Commission on Race R e la tio n s
asked the q u estio n , "What are some of the most pronounced m ental
complexes exp erien ced in a d ju stin g your p erso n a l d e s ir e s and ex ­
p e c ta tio n s to the p resen t s o c ia l system?" r e p lie d ;
A h y p e r - s e n s it iv e n e s s in regard to the s u b je c t Negro; a
tendency to see r a c i a l antagonism a s a m otive o f conduct in
every a c t o f w h ite p erson s when perhaps i t i s som etim es ab­
se n t; a h e s ita n c y about e n te r in g p u b lic p la c e s or approaching
in d iv id u a ls f o r f e a r o f r e b u ff or in s u lt ; a w ithdraw al in t o a
Negro world in which alm ost every thought and a c t are co lo red
by a r q c ia l a sp e c t b e fo r e a hum anitarian on e, are some o f the
m ental com plexes ex p erien ced in a g r e a te r or l e s s d egree by
alm ost every co lo red p erso n . 8
C hicago’ s "Black B e lt ," l i k e New Y ork's Harlem, i s a Negro
c i t y w ith in the c i t y .
As i t expanded, chu rch es, s c h o o ls , t h e a te r s ,
s to r e s , playgrounds, p ark s, e t c . , as w e ll a s homes and apartm ents,
were taken over from W hites.
Whether Negroes became owners or n o t,
they occupied or used n e a r ly a l l property and i n s t i t u t i o n s in th e
a rea .
I t i s p o s s ib le to w alk m ile s on any o f th e s t r e e t s which
tra v er se the le n g th o f C h ica g o 's South Side Negro community w ithout
^Chicago T ribune, A p ril 2 6 , 1940, p. 37.
2
The Negro in C hicago, pp. 5 0 2 -0 3 .
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31
m eeting a White p erso n .
X found th a t in much o f th e a rea th ere
were v i r t u a l l y no White r e s id e n t s e x c e p t th e few who were m arried
to N egroes.
S im ila r ly th e s c h o o ls , s t o r e s , motion p ic tu r e th ea ­
t e r s , and o th er p u b lic p la c e s in th e area have alm ost no White a t ­
ten d an ce.
W ithin th e Negro a rea are lo c a te d s t o r e s and oth er commer­
c i a l e s ta b lis h m e n ts, some operated by W hites and o th e r s by N egroes,
but a l l p a tro n ized alm ost e n t ir e ly by N egroes.
P e r s o n a l-s e r v lc e
esta b lish m en ts such a s barber sh ops, b eauty p a r lo r s , undertaking
p a r lo r s , and r e sta u r a n ts are alm ost e x c lu s iv e ly Negro in p erso n n el
and c l i e n t e l e a s a r e the o f f i c e s o f d o c to r s , d e n t is t s , la w y ers,
and other p r o f e s s io n a l men in the a r e a .
With r e s id e n t i a l seg reg a ­
t io n we fin d se g r e g a tio n in r e c r e a t io n a l f a c i l i t i e s .
The Negro
community has i t s own dance h a l l s , p o o l rooms, n ig h t c lu b s , ta v ­
e r n s, m o tio n -p ictu re t h e a t e r s , gam bling and v ic e r e s o r t s , e t c .
Parks and playgrounds were in some neighborhoods taken over by Ne­
groes on ly a f t e r c o n f l i c t or h o s t i l i t y such as accompanied the
tr a n s fe r o f homes form erly occupied by W hites.'1'
With in c r e a se d group s o lid a r i t y th ere has been a marked
grovrth in Negro i n s t i t u t i o n s and a s s o c ia t io n s .
The Negro p r e ss
in p a r tic u la r has grown am azingly.
In 1921, f i f t e e n Negro p u b lic a 2
tio n s in clu d in g f i v e weekly newspapers were p rin ted in Chicago.
These p u b lic a tio n s c o n ta in l i t t l e or no news th a t i s n ot about or
of e s p e c ia l in t e r e s t to N egroes, and i t i 3 sa id th a t th ey are
passed on by su b sc r ib e r s so th a t th ere are few l i t e r a t e Negroes
1Xbld. , pp. 2 7 1 -9 7 .
2
F. F . D e tw e ile r , The Negro P ress in the U nited S ta te s
(C hicago, 1 9 2 2 ), p . 13.
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32
who do n o t read one or more o f th e s e race papers*'*’ The Negro com­
munity has i t s own ch u rch es, f r a t e r n a l o r g a n iz a tio n s , s o c i a l c lu b s ,
and s o o ia l a g e n c ie s .
Even th e N egroes l i v i n g i n White n eig h b o r­
hoods g e n e r a lly p a r t ic ip a t e i n Negro ra th er than White s o c ia l and
r e l ig io u s o r g a n iz a tio n s , i f in any.
This was a ls o true in the
p eriod b efo re r e s i d e n t i a l s e g r e g a tio n became so com plete*
O u tsid e th e b ou n d aries of th e Negro a rea s we fin d th a t the
p op u latio n i s composed alm ost e n t ir e ly of W hites who have th e ir own
i n s t i t u t i o n s and a s s o c ia t io n s .
Except in th e c a se o f a few li b e r a l
or r a d ic a l o r g a n iz a tio n s and a few ch u rch es, membership i n th e se
groups e ith e r i s n o t open to Negroes op i s lim ite d to a sep a ra te
branch.
A llow in g f o r the sm a ll p ro p o rtio n o f Negroes in th e popu­
la tio n of the c i t y w hich makes d u p lic a tio n o f f a c i l i t i e s o f p u b lic
accommodation im p r a c tic a b le , th ere i s in p r a c tic e a b i - r a c i a l or
c a s t e - l i k e d iv is io n o f s o c ie t y in C hicago.
This i s im p lic it in
the fo llo w in g p o r tio n o f another Chicago Tribune e d i t o r i a l o f
twenty y e a r s ago c a lle d '‘U n s e ttlin g the Race Problem";
. . . . R eg a rd less o f what may be co n sid ered the J u s tic e o f
the cla im s o f th e r a c e s , th e f a c t undeniab ly i s th a t w h ite and
b la ck w i l l n ot mix in q u a n tity . For t h is r e a s o n --th e reason
reached by th e ju r y --th e remedy seems ob viou s; th ere must be
a p lan e upon which the r a c e s can l i v e s o c i a l l y d i s t i n c t but
in d u s t r ia ll y c o - o p e r a tiv e .
We are n o t d isp o se d to th in k th a t the mass o f the Negroes
want s o c ia l e q u a lity in th e f u l l sen se of the term . The T rib ­
une has had many i n t e l l i g e n t l y composed l e t t e r s from Negroes
d is c la im in g any such d e s ir e . We b e lie v e th e Negroes want an
op p o rtu n ity to d evelop th e ir own s o c ie t y . I f t h is I s true
th ere ought n o t be w idespread o b je c tio n to s o c i a l s e g r e g a tio n
d ir e c te d by th em selves and upon the theory o f wholesome l i v in g
c o n d itio n s .^
^ I b ld ., pp. 6 -7 .
2
The Negro in C hicago, p . 552.
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33
There i e l i t t l e f r i c t i o n between Negroes and W hites in
p u b lio p la c e s — such a s s t r e e t c a r s , l i b r a r i e s , museums, and s to r e s
and th e a te r s in th e Loop—where th ere i s a type o f c o n ta c t which
does n o t in v o lv e s o c i a l r e c o g n it io n .
The w r ite r o f a tex tb o o k on
the Negro sums up th e s it u a t io n i n th ese words*
« -.J L J 8 n e e d le a s t 0 add ^ a t ,. e x c e p t In p u b lic p la c e s , th ere
i s l i t t l e or no s o c i a l in te r m in g lin g o f w h ites and N egroes any­
where i n th e North and W est, . . . .
The r a c i a l problem in th e North seems to be th is * How to
p reserv e se p a ra ten ess in a l l in tim a te r e la t io n s h ip s , and, a t
the same tim e, in term in g le in a l l p u b lic p la c e s w ith due r e ­
gard to mutual r i g h t s and f e o l i n g s . l
N egroes in C hicago, on the w h ole, a re s o c i a l l y is o la t e d
from the l i f e o f the g e n e r a l community w ith which t h e ir main con­
ta c t comes as em p loyees.
I n d ir e c t ly they p a r t ic ip a t e a s v o t e r s ,
ta x p a y ers, consumers, and in numerous irqpersonal r e la t io n s h ip s .
While N egroes and W hites are in t e r r e la t e d in the ta sk s o f producing
and d is t r ib u t in g good3 and s e r v ic e s , s o c ia l d is ta n c e i s s tr o n g ly
emphasized and in t e r r a c ia l co n ta cts are lim ite d and u s u a lly d efin ed
as to t h e ir n a tu re, p la c e , and tim e.
Negro and White workers may
spend th e working day s id e by s id e in the f a c t o r y , o f f i c e , or oth er
p lace o f work, but do n ot v i s i t each o t h e r 's homes.
A White woman
might regard her Negro maid a s p art o f the h ousehold, but would n ot
go to the th e a te r w ith her or in v it e her or any Negro to be a g u e st
a t her b rid g e clu b or church.
I t i s g e n e r a lly exp ected by both
.Vhites and Negroes th a t p erson al a s s o c ia t io n w ith each o th er w i l l
be lim it e d to r e la t io n s h ip s which are p a rt o f an o ccu p a tio n a l or
other p a tte r n d efin ed as to p la ce and tim e.
On the o th er hand, C h ica g o 's p o p u la tio n i s very h e te r o g e n e -
p. 43.
^Jerome Dowd, The Negro in American L ife (New York, 1 9 2 6 ),
' “
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of th e copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
34
ous and approxim ately tw e n ty -fiv e p er cen t were born In fo r e ig n
lan d s where d if f e r e n t a t t it u d e s toward Negro-W hite o o n ta cte p re­
v a il*
Even o f n a t iv e C hicagoans, a l l do n o t share th e g e n e r a l a t ­
t it u d e toward Negro-W hite a s s o c ia t io n , alth ou gh s o c i a l p ressu re
ten d s to make for co n fo rm ity .
A few r e l i g i o u s , s o c i a l s e r v ic e ,
r a d ic a l, and o th er in s t i t u t i o n s and groups encourage and promote
I n te r r a c ia l a s s o c ia t io n .
Dr. C u rtis W. R eese, Dean o f th e Abraham
L in co ln Centre which I s lo c a te d a t th e edge o f th e Negro community,
s a id the fo llo w in g o f th e a c t i v i t i e s they carry on*
. . . . We have dances tw ioe a y e a r . They are a tten d ed alm ost
e n t ir e ly by s o c i a l workers and the r a d ic a l i n t e l l e c t u a l group.
I t i s by I n v it a t io n only and about h a lf Colored and h a lf W hite.
The U nited C h a r itie s a ls o g iv e s a dance which i s i n t e r r a c i a l ,
but most o f th ose who a tten d are C olored.
In our program h ere we keep a c o n tr o lle d en ro llm en t. We
have about h a lf and h a lf . We cou ld e a s i l y have a l l Colored
or a l l W hite. We keep a c o n tr o lle d en ro llm en t fo r b e t t e r i n t e r ­
r a c i a l u n d erstan d in g. We d o n 't r e fu s e to have an a l l White or
a l l Colored group, but we d o n 't encourage i t .
We have a summer camp where we tak e f o r t y c h ild r e n a t a
tim e. We g e n e r a lly take h a lf and h a l f . Sometimes we take
twenty C olored, ten W hite, f i v e Mexican, and f i v e C hin ese.
There I s a sm a ll Mexican colon y near h e r e .
You don’ t have any tro u b le w ith th e l i t t l e t o t s p la y in g
to g e th e r . I t i s only when they g et o ld er and f e e l community
p ressu re th a t we have d i f f i c u l t y . We had a group o f fo u r te e n
White g i r l s and two Colored g i r l 3 who were p r a c t ic in g to g iv e
a p u b lic performance o f a d an ce. They g o t alon g f i n e to g e th e r
during the r e h e a r s a ls . Then the day b efo re they were goin g to
put on th e performance tw elve of the White g i r l s ’ m others r e ­
fu sed to l e t them take p art r/ith the Colored g i r l s . We put
^
on the performance w ith two White g i r l s and two Colored g i r l s .
S o c ia l c o n ta c ts between Whites and Negroes are in freq u en t
b ecau se the l a t t e r form but o n e - f if t e e n t h o f th e c i t y ' s p o p u la tio n
and are con cen tra ted in seg reg a ted areas w ith in which they have
t h e ir own s o c ia l l i f e .
P r a c t ic a lly th e o n ly c o n ta c t i s In p u b lic
p la c e s such na the s t o r e s , sid ew a lk s, and th e a te r s o f the Loop and
"^Personal in te r v ie w .
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35
the s t r e e t c a r s , b u s bob, and e le v a te d t r a in s (where c o n ta c t I s
p h y s ic a l ra th e r than s o c i a l ) ; i n o ccu p a tio n a l r e la t io n s h ip s ; and
In a few sch o o ls and r a d ic a l or em ancipated groups.
A ra th er sm a ll p ercen tage of Chicago* s VKhlte p o p u la tio n
has reg u la r o ccu p a tio n a l r e la t io n s h ip s w ith N egroes, whether as
fe llo w -w o r k e r s, merchant or employee and custom er, or a s employer
o f maid, cook, or c h a u ffe u r .
Most p o s it io n s In the o ccu p a tio n a l
s c a le are n ot open to Negro co m p etitio n , and even In the f i e l d o f
dom estic h elp White p erso n s are u s u a lly p referred by the r e l a t i v e l y
few White p eo p le who have s e r v a n ts .
The average White person a t ­
ten d s s c h o o ls which have v i r t u a l l y no Colored p u p ils and b elo n g s
to c lu b s and c liq u e s composed e n t i r e l y o f members o f h is own group.
Most White p eop le probably have no more c o n ta c t w ith Negroes than
o c c a s io n a l p roxim ity in a Loop s to r e or m ovie, and on th e s t r e e t ­
c a r , e t c . , or w ith a washroom a tte n d a n t, or th e p o rter in a barber
shop or r a ilr o a d s t a t io n .
and d isap p roved .
A ctu al s o c i a l v i s i t i n g i s ra th er unusual
I t may arou se the h o s t i l i t y o f n eig h b o rs, as r e ­
ported by a White g i r l speaking o f two Communist f r ie n d s :
I know two p eo p le who had to move because they had p a r t ie s
which N egroes a tte n d e d . The n eigh b ors made them move because
Negroes came to the p a r t ie s a t t h e ir hom es.1
The average Negro, i f employed, probably works o u tsid e the
Negro community and has d a ily o ccu p a tio n a l c o n ta c ts w ith W hites,
On r e tu r n in g from work, however, he e n te r s a Negro s o c i a l world a s
com plete a s th a t of the W hites.
A Negro who i s unemployed, or a
h o u se w ife , or working in an e n t ir e ly Negro b u s in e s s , i s l i k e l y to
have very l i t t l e c o n ta c t w ith W hites oxcopt in p u b lic p la c e s .
An
o c c a s io n a l w hite salesm an or c o l le c t o r might c a l l on b u s in e s s , but
P erson al in te r v ie w .
I
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36
th ere would most l i k e l y be no o c c a sio n f o r the Hegro t o v i s i t a
White p erso n 1s home.
R e la tio n s betw een N egroes and W hites o f o p p o site se x are
e s p e c ia l ly c o n t r o lle d by s o c ie t y .
Even more than in c a s e s o f a s ­
s o c ia t io n of in d iv id u a ls o f the same sex are they ex p ected t o be
c o n fin ed to s it u a t io n s w e ll d efin ed a s to tim e , p la c e , and a c t i v i ­
ty .
Any e x te n s io n o f th e r e la t io n s h ip beyond th ese l i m i t s i s l i k e ­
ly t o r e s u l t i n u n fa v o ra b le o p in io n or comment.
An i l l u s t r a t i o n
from another northern c i t y shows the fo r c e o f s o c ia l p ressu re in
t h is regard!
. . . . The c o lo r e d groceryman, o f whom I have p r e v io u s ly sp o ­
k en , h as alw ays employed a w h ite g i r l as b ook -keep er. He l i v e s
in th e same s e c t io n o f the c it y th a t she l i v e s in , and they have
to r id e to and from home on th e same s t r c e t - c a r l i n e . In a l l
the y e a r s th a t he has employed h e r , he has never appeared on
th e s t r e e t by h e r s i d e , nor has he reco g n ised h er on the s t r e e t ­
c a r . L iv in g on the same s t r e e t , they would norm ally g e t o f f
a t th e same co rn er, b u t, whenever he happens to f in d her on the
same s t r e e t - c a r w ith h im s e lf, he manages to have b u sin e ss a t
th e s t r e e t J u st b e fo r e or beyond where she g e t s o f f . His r e a ­
son f o r a c tin g th is way i s th a t i t would cause t a lk and in ju r e
b oth o f them i f th ey were seen to g e th e r . He b e li e v e s th a t the
c o lo red man ought to be c a r e fu l to do n oth in g th a t a n ta g o n izes
the w h ite r a c e , and, in h is o p in io n , n o th in g i s more r e p u ls iv e
to the w hite man than the id oa o f amalgamation o f the races*
Many o th ers of th e b e t t e r c l a s s o f n egroes ex p ressed th em selves
to the same e f f e c t . l
I t i s ev id e n t th a t b a s ic f e a tu r e s o f c a s te are p resen t in
the s o c i a l system which r e g u la te s th e r e l a t io n s of Negroes and
Whites In C hicago.
We have seen th a t membership in e it h e r group
i s h e r e d ita r y and permanent, th a t th e '.Vhite group o ccu p ie s a su p erord in a te s o c i a l p o s it io n and the Negro group a su bordinate p o s it io n ,
and th a t thoy are separated by powerful b a r r ie r s o f s o c ia l d is t a n c e .
Exam ination o f the a t t it u d e o f the s o c ie t y towards in term a rria g e
^F. U. Q u illin , The Color Lino in Ohio; A H isto r y o f Race
P reju d ice in a T yp ical N orthern S ta te (Ann Arbor, M ichigan, 1 9 1 3 ),
p7 153."
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37
and o f the s o c i a l c o n tr o ls and s a n c tio n s u sed to en fo rce endogamy
rem ains to be made*
I
A ttitu d e of S o c ie ty towards Negro-W hite Interm arriage
I
The b a s ic a t t it u d e of b o th the Negro and the White group
\
I
in Chicago i s th a t endogamy must b e m a in ta in ed , and person s who
'
I
do n ot share t h is a t t it u d e are d e c id e d ly in the m in o rity ,
;
I
White in term arriage i s as much a v io la t io n o f American mores a s i s
I
the breaking of ru le s o f endogamy a v io l a t io n o f the mores o f many
I
p r im itiv e c u lt u r e s .
I
son b u t, r a th e r , l e t em otion r u le .
I
c lin o d to t o le r a t e b reach es o f the r u le , community p ressu re w i l l
I
g e n e r a lly prevent him from g iv in g com fort to th ose
I
In an a r t i c l e on in term a rria g e and the race problem a v i s i t o r to
I
the U nited S ta te s em phasizes t h is p o in t:
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
N egro-
I t i s a taboo about which people do n ot r e a Even should a person be i n -
who v io la t e i t .
The t e r r ib le tiling about p reju d ice I s th a t i t becomes 3e l f su p p o rtin g . I t degrades i t s v ic tim s alm ost to the p o in t o f
c r e a tin g i t s own j u s t i f i c a t i o n , and i t b lu n ts the c r i t i c a l
sen se o f th ose who hold i t , ao th a t they cannot escape from i t s
t h r a l l , ’Alien i t i s e s t a b lis h e d , men have to r e s p e c t i t in s e l f
d e fe n s e ....................
So even th ose who d e s p is e a taboo in t h e ir h ea rt may be comp e lle d to conform to i t outw ardly.^
The a t t it u d e of most White person s In th e North towards th e
1
interm arriage of Negroes and W hites i s not a g r e a t
I
ant than th a t of southern W hites.
I
j e c t fo r r a t io n a l r e f l e c t io n and c r i t ic i s m , and anyone who argued
I
in I t s favor would f a i l to g a in s e r io u s a t t e n t io n ,
1
1
d ea l more t o l e r -
Such in term a rria g e i s n ot a sub-
Although th e r e i s not com plete c o n fo rm ity i n a t t i t u d e
th ro u g h o u t the s o c i e t y , most W hiles in Chicago c o n s i d e r the a c tio n
of one of t h e ir group who m arries a Kogro, d is g r a c e f u l.
Rather
A l b e r t Ouerard, "The L ast Taboo," S c r ib n e r 's Magazine,
UXVII (J u n e, 1 9 2 5 ), 590.
---------------------- ----------
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38
t y p ic a l i s th e a t t it u d e o f a m iddle-aged woman o f whom I asked the
address o f a White woman, form erly th e w ife o f a Hegro, who liv e d
d ir e c t ly a c r o ss th e s t r e e t from her in a m edium -to-poor White
neighborhood.
She p oin ted ou t the house I wanted and then remarked
to two men who were rep a ir in g the b u ild in g n e x t doorj
Do you know what th a t woman did? She m arried a man who
was b la ck a s c o a l and she i s W hite. She i s the same as u s and
she m arried a n ig g e r . I s n ' t th a t t e r r ib le f o r a White woman
to marry a n ig g er l i k e that?
Once in aw h ile I see a dark one and fou r or f i v e k id s go
in to se e h e r . I hear th at th a t i s her d a u g h te r -in -la w . I
don’ t know much ahout h er, only what I h ea r. I never ta lk to
her, 1
A few y ea rs ago a Chicago newspaper p rin ted the l i f e - s t o r y
o f a young White woman of prominent fa m ily who had been h ea d lin ed
fo r s e v e r a l days fo llo w in g the a r r e s t of her and her Hegro husband,
both Communists, in what s ta r te d as an e v ic t io n ca se and r e s u lte d
in a s a n ity t r i a l fo r th e g i r l .
W ithin a few days th ere appeared
in th e "What the P eop le Say” column of the paper l e t t e r s l i k e the
fo llo w in g s
A fter rea d in g Jane Emery Hewton*s sto ry I am su rp rised th a t
a newspaper o f your h ig h sta n d in g would stoop so low a s to
p r in t such tr a s h . Her fa m ily s u ffe r e d enough s o c ia l em barrass­
ment through th e scan d al t h i s unscrupulous g i r l ca u sed . We owe
i t to them and the p u b lic to f o r g e t h e r .
She has ch osen the wrong f a i t h in l i f e and i s determ ined
not t o a lt e r her ways, so why b oth er w ith her? Her p o l i t i c a l g
id e a s are un-American and her moral id e a s are a n t i s o c i a l . A. 0 .
So s e r io u s an o ffe n s e i s in term a rria g e regarded to be by
the White s o c ie t y th a t many Whites w ith Hegro spouses sever a l l
co n n ectio n s w ith th e ir parents and r e l a t i v e s in order to spare them
b oth shock and d is g r a c e .
Such m arriages are as damaging to the
^Personal in te r v ie w .
2
Chicago D a lly Times, December 31, 1934, p . 1 1 .
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39
fa m ily name as i s & s e r io u s crim e, and the o ffen d er may b e made
by th e a t t it u d e o f s o c ie t y to f e e l much l i k e a c r im in a l—a s i s
in d ic a te d by th e very s e n s i t iv e White w ife o f a N egro, who r e ­
marked}
When you marry out o f your ra ce you l i v e a double l i f e *
This i s l i k e b ein g a c r im in a l. I t i s e x a c tly the same. Every­
where you go you have to be a fr a id someone you know w i l l see
you. . . . . When I was in S p r in g fie ld some p eo p le from Chicago
came and I f e l t they m ight expose me. I t i s a t e r r ib le f e e l ­
in g ................... I f e e l l i k e an in n ocen t c r im in a l. Like some p er­
son a r r e ste d f o r som ething he has never done, and d oesn ’ t
want anybody to f in d o u t.*
E f f o r t s are o fte n made by in t e r e s t e d p ersons or o u ts id e r s
to p reven t a White person from marrying a Negro.
The fo llo w in g
account by an immigrant I r is h woman i s an example w hich shows how
shocking such a union appears even to a man who knows b oth p a r t i c i ­
pants a s em ployees:
I m arried P ie r c e . I never thought I would marry him. I
j u s t p ick ed up w ith him and we g o t m arried. Of co u rse th ere
was an aw ful to -d o about i t In Hyde Park. The p eo p le I was
working w ith t r ie d to stop i t and t r ie d to have i t a n n u lled .
I d id housework and liv e d w ith the p eople Mr. P ie r c e worked
fo r when I met him. . . . . The o n ly way they knew i s they saw
our names in th e D a lly News. V/e liv e d on 57th and Madison.
Madison i s D o rch ester now. I remember he had a paper when he
came home. He came in t o the house and showed i t to th e madam.
Then he t o ld me th a t he had seen the n o tic e th a t I was g oin g
to marry Mr. P ie r c e . He s a id , "Is t h i s tru e? ” I was f e e l in g
nervous and to ld him th a t i t was tr u e . Re s a id , "You are new
h e r e . You don’ t know what I t i s l i k e h ere. Do you know what
w i l l happen i f you marry t h is man? You w i l l be o s t r a c iz e d .
No one w i l l want t o have an ything to do w ith you."
I s a id , " I ’ve done I t ." He s a id , "You have a f r ie n d in
T exas. I ' l l g e t you a t ic k e t and you can go th ere t i l l i t blows
o v er," He tr ie d to g e t me to go but I d id n ’ t . 2
So stro n g i s th e f e e l in g a g a in s t in term a rria g e t h a t , a l ­
though le g a l in most n orth ern s t a t e s , Negro-W hite co u p les are o fte n
refu sed li c e n s e s to wed.
One o f my White inform ants s a id th a t a l ­
though she was pregnant she and her Negro f ia n c e were unable to
-
— -
P erson al in te r v ie w .
P erso n a l in te r v ie w .
I
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40
secure a m arriage li c e n s e In s e v e r a l c l t l e a j
* * • * They co u ld t e l l X was g o in g to have a c h ild * Xn ray
home they s a id th ey would take me from, ray mother and put me
in an I n s t i t u t i o n i f I i n s i s t e d on marrying*
* * » « When I went to the cou rth ou se w ith my husband they
w ou ld n 't marry u s* I t was too scandalous fo r words*
We went to B u ffa lo to g e t a li o e n s e , and they w ou ld n 't
marry us* Then we went to B ----------- , P en n sylvan ia and th ey
w ould n't marry us* My husband to ld me, ”1 know where we can
g e t m arried . We can g e t m arried In C hicago.
The Negro group, b roadly sp eak in g, d isa p p ro v es o f I n t e r ­
marriage a lth ou gh th ere i s l e s s u n ifo rm ity o f o p in io n and a m ilder
r e a c tio n than in the c a se o f the White group.
The White a t t it u d e
th at one o f t h e ir group low ers h im se lf and d is g r a c e s h is fa m ily by
marrying a person o f the in f e r io r c a s t e cannot be a ccep ted by Ne­
g r o e s.
The g e n e r a l Negro a t t i t u d e , which upholds r a c e p r id e , i s
th a t i t i s d i s l o y a l to th e group to marry a White person when Ne­
groes o f eq u al worth are a tta in a b le *
This p o in t i s w e ll ex p ressed
by a w ell-know n Negro w r ite r and ed u cator;
. . . . T h e o r e tic a lly Negroes would a l l su b scrib e to th e r ig h t
o f freedom o f c h o ic e in m arriage, even betw een th e two r a c e s ,
but p r a c t ic a lly th ey have never ceased to r e s e n t th e a c tio n
o f th o se very few in d iv id u a ls o f the r a c e , p a r t ic u la r ly th e
men, who have chosen to c r o s s the co lo u r li n e fo r w iv e s . To
the ra ce as a whole i t c o n s t it u t e s a c t iv e d is lo y a l t y to th e
Negro ra ce I t s e l f , as w e ll as a r e f l e c t i o n on i t s womanhood.
In a word, though N egroes b e lie v e in the v a li d i t y o f th e ir
r ig h t to do so and r e s e n t i t s l e g a l p r o h ib it io n , even to the
p o in t o f r e s i s t i n g i t s enactm ent, the average member o f th e
race i s to o proud to marry a c r o s s the colou r li n e j fo r in th o se
s t a t e s where th ere i s no le g a l bar to in term a rria g e o f the r a ­
c e s the number o f such m arriages i s alm ost n e g l i g i b l e , 2
This a t t it u d e I s most p o w erfu lly d ir e c t e d toward men w ith
the h ig h e s t rank in th e Negro group, men who would be most d e s ir e d
as husbands.
One man o f t h is group gave an i l l u s t r a t i o n o f th e
^ Personal in te r v ie w .
2
Robert R. Moton, What the Negro Thinks (New York, 1 9 2 9 ),
pp. 24 1 -4 2 .
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of th e copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
g e n e r a l f e e lin g s
« « » » I f a White woman m arries a Colored man th ey tejid to
have doubts about her ch aracter* « . . .
L et me g iv e you a h y p o th e tic a l exam ple. Supposing a C o l­
ored man m arries a White woman, a f t e r having l o s t h is f i r s t
w if e . I f th e man was o f prominence in the Colored community
he would be very s e v e r e ly c r i t i o i z e d i f th e second w ife was
n o t a ls o of good ed u ca tio n and a tta in m en t, e s p e c ia l ly I f she
d id n o t come up to th e c l a s s o f h is f i r s t w if e . The C olored
group would blame the man on two co u n ts; f i r s t , b ecau se he
married below h i s c l a s s and secon d , because he m arried a White
woman* They would th in k th a t he cou ld fin d a "white" woman In
th e Colored group of s u it a b le a tta in m en ts i f he looked hard
enough*1
There i s a g e n e r a l f e e l i n g among N egroes, as among W hites,
th a t White persons who would marry a Negro are o f low c l a s s and
th a t fo r t h is reason Interm arriage i s o b je c tio n a b le .
One o f my
b e s t Inform ants, th e n ot very poor daughter o f a newspaper e d it o r ,
t o ld me th a t when she moved in t o th e Negro community w ith h er C ol­
ored husband n o tes were p la ce d in the m ail box sa y in g , "We d o n 't
want poor White tr a sh in t h is neighborhood."
There i s no doubt th a t the m a jo rity o f Negroes d isap prove
of in term a rria g e, but th ey show g r e a te r to le r a n c e than W hites gen­
e r a lly do*
A number o f Negroes who had m arried W hites i n s i s t e d ,
however, th a t th e ir group was j u s t a s p reju d iced i f n ot more so
than Whites a g a in st in term a rria g e.
I t i s probable t h a t , l i v i n g
a3 they d id in areas w ith very few White r e s id e n t s , most o f t h e ir
c o n ta c ts , and th erefo re o f th e ir u n p lea sa n t e x p e r ie n c e s , were w ith
Negroes*
Negro women more o fte n than men ex p ress d isa p p r o v a l o f
in term a rria g e, perhaps because t h e ir men are most fr e q u e n tly g u ilt y
of marrying out of the group.
Time and again th e in t e r r a c ia l cou­
p le s I In terview ed rep eated to me the stereo ty p ed sta tem en t th a t
■^Personal in te r v ie w .
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42
" there are two c l a s s e s o f p eop le who c a n 't stand mixed m a rria g es—
Colored women and White men."
F req u en tly they r e la t e d t h i s s t a t e ­
ment to the sex u a l freedom o f White men and Negro women and the
"slavery" o f Negro men and White women in the South.
T y p ica l sta tem en ts made by Negro men and White women who
were in term a rried are*
I f in d th a t th e g en era l p u b lic i s n ' t ready f o r i t and
d o e s n 't a ccep t i t . Colored are very stro n g a g a in s t i t and
W hites are to o . E s p e c ia lly th e Colored women oppose mixed
m arria g e..
. . . . I th in k Colored p eople a s a whole outnumber th e W hites
in b ein g opposed. E s p e c ia lly th e Colored women ex p ress them­
s e lv e s . Of course they f e e l they arc b ein g l e f t ou t and o th ers
are taking th e ir p la c e s . You hear very few men but many C ol­
ored women sp eaking a g a in s t i t . l
I f a Colored man w ith a White woman passed 75 Colored men
n oth in g would happen. I f they passed 75 White women n oth in g
would be s a id u n le s s someone fo rced them to say som ething.
But l e t them pass one Y/hlte man and one Colored woman and the
tro u b le would b e g in . 2
The m ajority o f p eople put u s a l l in the same c l a s s —r o t ­
t e n . There are two c l a s s e s o f p eop le who c a n 't take i t , who
c a n 't stand mixed m arriages. They are Colored women and White
men. 3
A co n sid era b le p rop ortion o f Hegro men and a somev.’h a t sm a ll­
er one of Negro women—fa r g rea ter than o f White men and women—
do n o t o b je c t to in term a rria g e, or v o ic e very m ild d isa p p r o v a l.
In s e v e r a l Negro neighborhoods I asked r e s id e n t s for- In form ation
regardin g Negro-Whito cou p les and found q u ite a v a r ia tio n in a t t i ­
tude toward such m arriage.
This i s i l lu s t r a t e d by my ex p erien ce
in a sm all o u tly in g Negro community where I asked an in n -k eep er
and a woman a c t iv e in c i v i c work f o r such In form ation .
The Negro
p r o p rie to r o f an inn r e p lie d ;
I know a number o f mixed co u p les because they come in here
to buy, but I d o n 't know e x a c tly where they l i v e . They g e t
x
, ~ — :----------------- s
P erson al in te r v ie w .
P ersonal in te r v ie w .
^Personal i n t e r v i e w .
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43
a lon g v ery n ic e ly in the conmtunlty,
owners.^
Host o f them a re property
In th e same community a l i g h t Colored woman, who I had been
t o ld wa3 im portant in the s o c i a l l i f e and c lu b s , s a id :
I don’ t know many in t e r r a c i a l l y m arried c o u p les b ecau se 1
d o n 't a s s o c ia t e w ith them. I d o n 't approve o f th a t k in d o f
. m arriage. There i s m ixture in my fa m ily from sla v e r y d a y s. .
•
•
•
I wonder why mixed co u p les come o u t h e r e . They r a th er
s t ic k out l i k e a so re thumb h e r e . You'd th in k they would h id e
in a co n g ested a r e a . '
1
P erso n a l in te r v ie w .
2
P erso n a l in te r v ie w .
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CHAPTER IV
SOCIAL FORCES WHICH PERMIT NEGRO-WHITE INTERMARRIAGE
Mores and V alues C on tra d icto ry
to C aste and Endogamy
In s p it e o f the stro n g s o c ia l p ressu re and g r e a t d i f f i c u l t y
in carry in g on c o u r ts h ip , some White p erso n s—a v ery sm a ll p e r c e n t­
age, to be su r e —do marry N egroes.
Because o f c o n f l i c t i n g mores
and s o c ia l f o r c e s in our s o c ie t y which are I n c o n s is t e n t w ith c a s te
and endogamy, th e se p erson s are a b le to f in d J u s t i f i c a t i o n fo r
th e ir a c t io n .
While th e taboo on in term a rria g e i s d e f i n i t e l y p a rt
of the m ores, th ere are o th er v a lu e s in th e c u lt u r e which i f con­
s is t e n t l y fo llo w e d would perm it the m arriage o f Negroes to W hites,
American dem ocratic i d e a l s , as ex p ressed in the d o c tr in e
th at ''a ll men are c re a ted eq u a l," run cou n ter to the r u le s o f c a s t e
which a s sig n permanently in f e r io r s t a t u s to a l l N eg ro es.
E q u a lity
of op p ortu nity i s in theory th e b ir t h r ig h t o f a l l Am ericans.
The
form al t r a in in g , a t l e a s t , g iv en in C h ica g o 's p u b lic sc h o o ls does
not rec o g n ize c a s te p r in c ip le s ; and ev en l i t t l e Negro c h ild r e n are
taught the myth th a t i f they study hard as d id Abraham L in c o ln ,
th ey, to o , m ight some day be e le c t e d p r e s id e n t.
C a ste, w hich in ­
clu d es the p r o h ib itio n o f in term a r ria g e, ten d s to be opposed to dem­
o c r a tic p r in c ip le s —u n le s s th e subordinated c a s t e be ex clu d ed from
c o n s id e r a tio n .
The c o n s t it u t io n and law s o f I l l i n o i s e x p ress th e
dem ocratic id e a ls w ith regard to r a c e , and the le g a l s t a t u s o f Ne­
groes is id e n t ic a l v/ith th a t o f W hites.
I t m ight be added th a t
d e s p ite p u b lic condem nation, m arriages o f N egroes and W hites are
44
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45
le g a l and lic e n s e d In Chicago*
P erson al li b e r t y and freedom are c h e r ish e d American va lu es*
To a person about to c o n tr a c t an in t e r r a c ia l m arriage th e r u le o f
endogamy may seem to be an unwarranted in frin g em en t o f h is l i b e r t y .
The a t t it u d e th a t freedom to do a s one p le a s e s in c lu d e s th e r ig h t
to marry a cro ss th e c a s te l i n e was emphasized by many o f ray i n ­
form ants who had done s o .
An e ld e r ly Hegro woman m arried to a
White man expressed t h is view ;
This i s a f r e e country and you can do what you p le a s e . I f
you want to go b a r e fo o t you can do i t . Do you do a th in g b e ­
cau se you want to or because o th ers want you to? I th in k
everybody should do what they f e e l l i k e d oing and n ot worry
about what o th ers do.
I'm goin g to do j u s t what I want to do and n ot ask th e
oth er f e llo w . I do what i s r ig h t and I don’ t want anybody to
thank me fo r an y th in g .^
A Negro man w ith a White w ife declared*
. . . . 1 don’ t ca re what other p eop le th in k . I f I took a no­
t io n to a baboon in the zoo I would buy i t and tak e i t ou t and
marry i t . What r ig h t do p eople have to make you do what p le a ­
ses them? Do you do what you want to do or what o th ers want
you to do?
You ca n ’ t make me do an yth in g th a t I don’ t want to do. I f
th ere i s an ything I d e s p is e i t i s to be t o ld I have to do some­
th in g . I f you ask me to do a th in g , I ’l l do i t , but I won’ t
be t o ld what to d o. 2
In c o n tr a s t to th ose who in s is t e d on doing as they p lea sed
are I n d iv id u a ls who b e lie v e t h e ir m arriage i s p a rt o f God’ s p la n .
C h r istia n tea ch in g s on th e e q u a lity of man in God’ s s ig h t are not
c o n s is te n t w ith a c a s t e o r g a n iz a tio n o f s o c ie t y , but a p p aren tly
one can f in d r e l i g i o u s support f o r alm ost any p o s it io n , in c lu d in g
the one th a t Negro-White u n ion s are "contrary to the laws o f God
and n atu re."
A number o f ray inform ants found r e l i g i o u s j u s t i f i c a ­
tio n o f th e ir m arriages.
One dovout o ld man who had ca r r ie d out
P erson al In te r v ie w .
""Personal In te r v ie w .
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46
h i s b e l i e f to th e e x te n t o f b rin g in g f i f t e e n l i g h t brown c h ild r e n
- - e ig h t o f whom su rv iv ed in fa n c y — in to th e world by h i s White w if e ,
d ecla red w ith co n v ic tio n *
I b e lie v e in ch ild ren * Some mixed co u p les d o n 't b u t 1 do.
I b e lie v e mixed m arriage i s a plan o f Sod b ecau se o r i g in a lly
th ere were n e ith e r w h ite or b la c k . The p lan i s th a t we should
come back to where we sta r te d from . The b e s t i s th a t l i g h t
should marry dark to g e t back to the o r ig in a l c o lo r , I b e lie v e
th e Turks are o f the o r ig in a l c o lo r o f man.
According to the B ib le th ey [ a l l th e r a c e s ] were one a t one
tim e. I f th ey began from one person they c o u ld n 't have been
o f d if f e r e n t c o lo r .
Read th e 13th chapter o f Numbers and see i f th a t d o e s n 't
h elp you. . . . . No, i t ' s th e 12th c h a p te r . That ch ap ter
g iv e s an id ea th a t God w a sn 't d is p le a s e d th a t Moses m arried
an E th io p ia n woman.
I d id n 't know whether i t was r ig h t to marry as I d id a t
f i r s t . I d id n 't know i f i t was a s in or n ot t i l l I read th a t
ch ap ter o f Numbers. Then I knew th a t i t was a l l r i g h t . l
A V/hito woman o f the B a h a 'i f a i t h sa id to me*
I never ca re what the p eo p le th in k about me.
I th in k o f i s God...................
The o n ly one
I 'v e had many w onderful e x p e r ie n c e s in ray l i f e . I co n sid er
i t a g rea t p r iv i le g e . I f ig u r e i t i s a l l in the D iv in e p la n .
I f I h a d n 't met ay husband I f ig u r e t h a t I may have m arried „
some ’w hite man and never had a l l th ese w onderful e x p e r ie n c e s .
A very r e l i g i o u s m iddle-aged in t e r r a c ia l cou p le who are
e v a n g e lis t s o f th e F u ll Gospel Churcn r e la te d how the Lord had
brought them to g eth er twenty y ea rs ago.
. . . . The Lord put us to g e th e r .
a t her hou se.
The White husband said*
We met a t a prayer m eeting
I t was God's d o in g , n o t me, b ecau se there was no c o u r tin g .
The Lord made me know she was my w if e . This i s a d if f e r e n t
m arriage a lto g e th e r than i f you do c o u r tin g . I f i t was an o r ­
d in ary m arriage maybe I w o u ld n 't have thought about marrying
a Colored woman.3
The buxom, dark brown w ife added*
1
P erson al in te r v ie w
2
P erson al in te r v ie w
3.
P erson al in te r v ie w
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47
T his nurse from Canada came In to my l i f e ...................... She wanted
to marry him, but th ey d id n ’ t take to each o th e r . He was a
C h r is tia n man and came s e v e r a l tim e s to B ib le m eetings a t my
h ou se, I asked the Lord t o j o in t h i s husband and the Canadian
White woman togeth er* T h is woman s a id to me, "He i s g o in g to
be your h usband,"
At th e n ex t B ib le c l a s s I t o ld t h is woman I was goin g to
pray th a t the Lord b rin g him and her to g e th e r , . . . . 1 prayed
f o r the Lord to make th is man know who h i s w ife w as. Then i t
came to me I was h i s w if e , and I f e l t so a n x io u s. He t o ld me
he f e l t I was h is w if e . The Canadian woman s a id to me th a t he
was going to be my husband...................
In my h ea rt I s a id , "Oh Lord, i f You want me to marry t h is
man, I don’ t want to marry no White man, but i f You so w i l l I
w i l l marry him," Then I f e l t I would marry him and I f e l t so
happy...................
When the time came we c a lle d fo r the m in is t e r . I t was a
w onderful m arriage. I f e l l in lo v e w ith him when God to ld me
he would be my husband. I w o u ld n 't fo r sa k e him fo r nobody,
I r e a l l y know God in ten d ed f o r me to marry him. I w ould n't
have m arried a White man i f God h a d n 't p u t u s to g e th e r . I t
was r e a l lo v e , n ot f o r money.^
One o f the rea so n s g iv e n by th e g r e a t m a jo rity o f men and
women in terv iew ed by me fo r c o n tr a c tin g th e ir in term a rria g es was
romantic lo v e .
In t h is r e s p e c t th ey do n o t d i f f e r from other Ameri­
can s, fo r lo v e and romance are g e n e r a lly c o n sid ered to b e p rere q u i­
s i t e to m arriage in modern American c i v i l i z a t i o n ; and few p erson s
would be w illin g to admit th a t t h e ir m arriage was not based on
lo v e .
The rom antic com plex, w ith i t s em phasis on f r e e c h o ic e of
partner and strong em otional attachm ent a s the b a s is fo r m arriage,
Is accep ted by s o c ie t y in g e n e r a l.
I t i s c o n s ta n tly s t r e s s e d in
f i c t i o n , m otion p ic t u r e s , and popular so n g s.
Romantic lo v e occurs
o c c a s io n a lly in any s o c ie t y , but few c u ltu r e s o th er than our own
O
make i t the b a s is for marriage.^'
A lthough, in a c tu a l p r n c t ic e , most p erson s do n o t become
■'‘P e r s o n a l i n t e r v i e w .
o
Ralph L in to n , The Study o f Man (New York, 1 9 3 6 ), p . 175.
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em o tio n a lly in v o lv e d w ith o th ers o f th e o p p o site se x u n le s s they
.are o f ap p rop riate age, c u ltu r a l background, s o c ia l s t a t u s , and
so fo r t h ; i n th eo ry , th e p rocess of f a l l i n g in lo v e l i e s beyond
human c o n t r o l,
When i t does occur th e man and woman know they
were made fo r each oth er and b a r r ie r s o f fa m ily o p p o sitio n or so ­
c i a l in e q u a lity are swept a s id e .
Reason i s rep la ced by em otion
and f a u l t s o f the loved one are overlo o k ed .
Love i s p ictu red as
a fo r c e which l e v e l s a l l ranks and removes a l l o b s ta c le s to married
h ap p in ess.
W ithout lo v e , accord in g to the popular view , m arriage
cannot be t r u ly happy.
In popular f i c t i o n G in d e r e lla s win th e ir p rin ce s in s to r y
a fte r s to r y , w h ile O th ello a very seldom co u rt f a i r Desdemonas,
N e v e r th e le ss , the id e a l of romantic lo v e does tend to perm it ra th er
than r u le out Negro-W hite in term a rria g e.
To lo s e a l l fo r lo v e , to
v o lu n ta r ily s u ff e r d isg ra ce and h u m ilia tio n f o r a lo v ed one, i s in
keeping with the rom antic id e a l .
A Negro woman who had m arried a cro ss th e c a ste l i n e sa id :
" I'd go anywhere to marry the man I lo v e i f I c o u ld n 't marry him
2
in my own country."
A White man a ttr ib u te d h is m arriage to a Negro woman some
fo r ty years ago to th e type o f v io l e n t em otion al attachm ent most
of my inform ants would have c a l le d rom antic lo v es
'j'he reason I m arried. Take a k id tw enty-tw o y e a r s . That
was n oth in g b u t lo v e in one way. I t was p a ssio n more than any­
th in g ..................
1 d o n 't know v/hat, th a t i s —lo v e or what—but once you g e t
th a t in your system a l l the k in g 's h orsos and k in g 's men and
^Gf. ia. A. E l l i o t and t . ]•:. M e r r ill, S o c ia l D iso rg a n iza tio n
(New York, 1 9 3 4 ), chap. xx, "The Romantic F a l la c y .11
2
P ersonal in te r v io w .
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your fa m ily co u ld n ’ t change I t . I c a n 't e x p la in I t a t a l l .
I t i s som ething th a t overwhelms you and I d o n 't know i f you
lo s e your mind or what i t i s . l
A White woman who m arried her Negro husband one week a f t e r
she met him exp ressed a s im ila r p a ssio n a te attachm ent:
I had lo v ed my husband so f u r io u s ly th a t I d o n 't th in k I
w i l l ever lo v e a g a in . I ’ m th e type o f person who g iv e s a l l
h e 's g o t a t on ce. I d o n 't r e g r e t my lo v e b ecau se i t made me
b e tt e r a b le t o understand l i f e .
I r e a l l y thought my husband was a god. I d id n ’ t th in k
th ere was anything e l s e in th e w orld. T his may sound s i l l y ,
I gave up e v e r y th in g e a s i l y f o r him....................2
Another White woman t e l l s how, in accordance w ith the r o ­
m antic id e a l , she r e je c te d w ealthy s u it o r s because she d id n 't lo v e
them, and th en found romance w ith a Negro tw en ty-fou r y ea rs her
se n io r :
You m ight ask why did we marry.
hand of lo v e ...................
LoveJ
You can ’ t s ta y the
I neveinregretted th e s te p I made when I m arried my husband.
I am proud to say th a t John Whitney was my husband. I have
been engaged t o fou r men. They were w ealth y men, but I stopped
because lo v e was n o t th e r e , I cou ld have married a d o cto r.
A nurse alw ays has a chance. My a s s o c ia t io n w ith my husband
was always w onderful and rom antic.^
A p art of the rom antic com plex, but a ls o in h ere n t in an­
other American v a lu e , in d iv id u a lis m , I s the p r in c ip le th a t m arriage
i s an in d iv id u a l m atter and should be based on p erso n a l c h o ic e .
In most s o c i e t i e s , m arriage i s co n sid ered a s much a union o f fam i­
l i e s as of in d iv id u a ls and f r e e ch o ice o f spouse i s seldom p er­
m itte d .
Fam ily c o n tr o l over c h o ic e o f mate i s very weak in our
s o c ie t y .
While fam ily approval or d isa p p ro v a l o f a match does
serve as a c o n tr o l, th e p ersons c o n tr a c tin g a m arriage need n o t s e ­
cure fam ily co n sen t to marry.
P erson al in te r v ie w .
Persons c o n tr a c tin g in t e r r a c ia l
'P erson al in te r v ie w .
3.
P erson al in te r v ie w .
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50
m arriages seldom secu re such c o n s e n t, b u t f in d com fort in th e a t t i ­
tude th a t m arriage i s e n t ir e ly a p erso n a l m atter.
T his view i s
9ta te d by a Negro woman;
I am from th e S ou thw est, from T exas. They ta u g h t a g a in s t
mixed m arriages in th e South. I w rote t o my s i s t e r about ray
m arriage and she did n o t l i k e i t . I d id n ot w rite to her any
more, because I m arried to p le a se m y self and n o t my f a m ily .1
None o f th e s e v a lu e s and m ores—dem ocratic i d e a l s , p erson ­
a l l i b e r t y , C h r is tia n te a c h in g s , rom antic lo v e , and in d iv id u a l
ch o ic e i n m arriage—w hich tend to c o n f l i c t w ith p r in c ip le s o f c a s te
and endogamy can be s a id to encourage or promote Negro-W hite mar­
r ia g e , b u t, r a th e r , they perm it i t to occur in rare in s t a n c e s .
They serv e a s lo o p h o le s in the moral code whereby the p a r tic ip a n ts
in such m arriages are ab le to j u s t i f y t h e ir a c tio n in t h e ir own
minds.
Most o f the p erson s who c o n tr a c t in t e r r a c ia l m arriages are
a b le to d efend t h e ir conduct and say they have m arried d e c e n tly
and have n o th in g to be ashamed o f .
They g e n e r a lly f e e l th a t th ey
are sinned a g a in s t , r a th e r than s in n e r s , and p ersecu ted , ra th er
than punished f o r an a n t i s o c i a l a c t .
A W hite inform ant ex p ressed her f e e l i n g th u s;
I don’ t fin d i t em barrassing to go about w ith my husband.
I can t e l l you what m ight be em barrassing. I f my b o ss asked
me i f Jack i s my husband. That would be em barrassing, but
only b ecau se of temporary f in a n c ia l embarrassment. Embarrass­
ment means a f e e l in g of g u i l t and I don’ t have th a t f e e l in g
or any in t e n t io n of conform ing to s o c i e t y ’ s demands. 2
One o f th e Negro husbands sa id ;
. . . . So much o f the Colored race i s mixed w ith White b lo o d .
There i s so much i l l e g i t i m a t e r e la t io n s h ip th a t I don’ t see
why c r i t ic i s m should be le v e le d a t le g it im a t e u n io n . . . . .
1
P erson al in te r v ie w .
?.
'P ersonal in te r v ie w .
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61
. , , , I ’v e n ever been a b le to understand how White wen can
condone the in te r m in g lin g of th e r a c e s in c a b a r e t s , b r o t h e ls ,
and houses o f p r o s t it u t io n and y e t won’ t perm it t h e ir m ixing
under the banner o f C h r is t.
I know th a t my m arriage has caused some d i f f i c u l t i e s , but
I don’ t mind b ein g a p io n e e r . Many o f the tab oos o f our s o ­
c i e t y have been broken down s im ila r ly . 1
S e c tio n s o f S o c ie ty Which Do Not Share
th e G eneral A ttitu d e
While the g r e a t m ajority o f persons in Chicago a cce p t the
taboo on Negro-W hite in term arriage w ith ou t q u e stio n , a sm all pro­
p o r tio n of the p o p u la tio n q u e stio n s i t s n e c e s s it y or s a n c t it y .
R a tio n a l d is c u s s io n , in d u lged in by but few when a p r in c ip le such
as r u le s o f endogamy i s concerned, ten d s to weaken the fo r c e o f
the tab o o .
A number o f w r ite r s have d e a lt w ith the s u b je c t o f the
c o lo r li n e and I n t e r r a c ia l m arriage, and by f r e e l y exam ining th e
b a s is o f t r a d it io n a l a t t it u d e s and the v a r ia n t a t t it u d e s in other
c o u n tr ie s have sometimes s e r io u s ly q u estio n ed th e soundness o f the
a ccep ted custom s.
In comparing the co lo r l i n e in the United S ta te s
%
w ith th e s it u a t io n in B r a z il, M e lv ille J . H ersk o v its co n clu d es th a t
" It I s n ot to be d en ied th a t the one c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i s as ir r a t io n a l
as the o th e r , from a s c i e n t i f i c p o in t o f v ie w , but In terms o f humen h ap pin ess th e second cannot f a i l to be o f g r e a te r u s e fu ln e s s ."
2
Another example o f t h is type o f argument from the pen o f
an American a n th r o p o lo g is t i s the fo llo w in g ;
. . . . Looking forward towards a le s s e n in g o f the in t e n s it y
o f ra ce f e e l i n g an in c r e a se o f u n ion s o f White men and co lo red
women would be d e s ir a b le ...................
The b io lo g i c a l arguments th a t have been brought forward
a g a in s t race c r o ssin g are n ot co n v in cin g . E q u ally good rea so n s
^Personal in te r v ie w .
2"The Color L ine," The American Mercury, VI (O cto b er, 1925)
208 .
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52
can be g iv e n in fa v o r o f c r o s s in g s o f th e b e s t elem en ts o f v a ­
r io u s r a c e s , and fo r c l o s e l y r e la t e d groups th ese arguments
seem in c o n tr o v e r tib le ,,
Those who f e a r m isceg e n a tio n , which I , p e r s o n a lly , do n ot
co n sid er a s in any way d a n g ero u s--n o t for the White ra c e or
f o r the Negro, or fo r mankind—may co n so le th em selves w ith
t h e ir b e l i e f in a ra ce c o n sc io u sn e ss, which would m a n ifest
i t s e l f in s e le c t iv e m ating. Then m atters would remain a s they
a r e .*
In our modern c i v i l i z a t i o n th ere are many v a r ia n t p a tte r n s
o f b eh avior fo llo w ed by sm all groups w ith in th e la r g e r s o c ie t y .
A few r e l i g i o u s s e c t s , a s w e ll a s r a d ic a l and o th er groups emanci­
p ated from con v en tio n to a g r e a te r or le s s e r d eg ree, admit Negroes
and W hites t o membership on equal terms and o fte n tr y to promote
I n te r r a c ia l f e llo w s h ip .
These g ro u p s, I t must be remembered, are
b u t a sm all m in ority in the s o c ie t y .
W hile r a d ic a l groups in g e n e r a l a ccep t Negroes more r e a d ily
than does the t o t a l s o c ie t y , th e Communist p arty has made s p e c ia l
e f f o r t s to secu re Negro support and to p r a c tic e " s o c ia l e q u a lity ."
N egroes are alw ays welcome a t Communist dances and s o c ia l a f f a i r s ,
and group p ressu re I s ex er ted on White members to be fr ie n d ly to
them.
An unmarried White Communist g i r l sa id :
. . . . At one time a White g i r l in the [Communist] p arty f e l t
she had to go w ith Colored men i f they asked h er. They are
g e t t in g away from th a t now. The Colored g i r l s d i d ^ t have
anybody to dance w ith a t th e p a r t ie s because the Colored men
on ly went w ith White g i r l s . 2
Another White woman who was form erly a member o f th e Com­
m unist p a rty sa id th a t the g r e a te r frequency o f in t e r r a c ia l mar­
r ia g e in the Communist than in o th er r a d ic a l groups
. . . . I s e x p lic a b le on th e b a s is o f the program o f the p arty
toward Negroes and the c o n ta c ts made in r e c r u it in g them. The
^Tranz Boas, Anthropology and Modern L ife : A New and Re­
v is e d E d itio n (New York, 1 9 3 2 ), pp. 7 8 -8 0 .
2
P ersonal In te rv iew .
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53
s o c i a l a s p e c t o f o r g a n iz a tio n was s tr o n g ly s t r e s s e d and r e ­
c r u it in g was b ased on s o c i a l even ts* I th in k another p o in t
i s th a t among Communists th ere i s a stron g d e s ir e to overcome
r a o ia l antagonism and a n tip a th y and a d e s ir e to have normal
r e la tio n s .
Only a sm a ll p ro p o rtio n o f in term a rria g es in Chicago are
a r e s u lt o f a f f i l i a t i o n w ith o r g a n iz a tio n s which do away w ith so ­
c i a l d is ta n c e betw een Negroes and W hites.
Probably o f g r e a te r nu­
m e rica l s ig n if ic a n c e are p erso n s who b ecau se o f fo r e ig n b ir t h , e x ­
treme y o u th , or oth er f a c t o r s do not r e a l i z e th e s o c ia l im p lic a ­
t io n s o f m arriage a c r o ss th e c a s te l i n e .
These in d iv id u a ls are
in every in s ta n c e — a t l e a s t a l l 1 came a c r o s s w ere—W h ites, fo r
N egroes can h ard ly escap e aw areness o f the taboo.
A co n sid e r a b le number o f th e fo r e ig n -b o r n White women in ­
terv iew ed , e s p e c ia lly th o se who married soon a f t e r they came to
America, had a t th e tim e o f t h e ir marriage no r e a l a p p r e c ia tio n
of the a t t it u d e o f s o c ie t y to Negro-W hite in term a r ria g e.
Frequent­
l y th ey had no f e e l i n g o f c o lo r a n tip a th y , a s in the fo llo w in g
case:
I d id n 't have any a s s o c ia t io n w ith Negroes in F ran ce.
There a l l are the same. There i s no r a c i a l p r e ju d ic e in
F ran ce. I f th ere were Negroes th ere you w ouldn't know any
d if f e r e n c e , when i t comes to f e e l in g , I w ou ld n 't f e e l any
d if f e r e n c e . Negroes and W hites are the same to me. . . . .
I t was stra n g e to me when I came to t h is co u n try , th e f e e l ­
in g they have about N egroes. Vie know d if f e r e n c e s o f n a t i o n a l i ­
ty and c o lo r , but we d o n 't have any f e e l i n g about i t . 2
A Swedish woman who, two y ea rs a f t e r she came to the U nited
S t a t e s , m arried a Negro who was a b e l l hop a t the h o t e l where she
worked commentedj
I was dumb and g reen . Some o th er women born in t h i s coun­
tr y and m arried C olored. I d o n 't see how they do i t ...................
1
P ersonal in te r v ie w .
2
Personal in t e r v ie w .
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54
X d id n 't know when I came h e r e , I th in k i f I was born and
r a is e d in t h is country I t would have been d i f f e r e n t . 1 was a
greenhorn, b u t many were born In Chicago and d id I t t o o *3.
Another inform ant said }
I know my m oth er-in -law m arried a Negro because sh e was a
poor Ignorant I r is h woman. She was working w ith Mr. p ie r c e
and saw th a t he was w e ll lik e d and she d id n 't know th e d i f f e r ­
en ce, She n ever saw any Colored p eo p le b efo re she came to t h i s
c o u n tr y .2
A few n a tiv e White persons who were r a is e d in sm all towns
or areas c o n ta in in g few or no Negroes were unaware o f th e l o s s o f
s ta tu s m arriage to a Negro would e n t a i l ,
A woman from such a town
in New York r e la te d t h a t , u n lik e h e r s e l f , a White woman she knew
"came from th e South and knew how p r e ju d ic e would be and went ahead
and m arried.
She already knew about p r e ju d ic e .
I d id n 't know th a t
when I m arried,"
Another o f my White in form an ts a ttr ib u te d her in term a rria g e
to f a il u r e to r e a l iz e the s ig n if ic a n c e o f m arriage to a Negro b e­
cause of her you th .
She sa id ; "I was J u st a k id and d id n 't r e a l 4
iz e what i t meant t i l l i t was too la t e ."
1
3
Person al in te r v ie w .
P erson al ln terv iev r,
2
4
P erson al in te r v ie w .
P erson al in te r v ie w .
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CHAPTER V
THE SOCIAL SETTING OF NEGRO-WHITE MARRIAGES
Under what s o c i a l circu m stan ces do th e s e in term a rria g es
take p lace?
We have alrea d y examined the system o f s o c ia l r e l a ­
t io n s betw een Negroes and W hites in Chicago and the a t t it u d e o f
s o c ie t y towards in te r m a r r ia g e .
Let us now turn our a t t e n t io n to
the sequence o f ev en ts p recedin g such m arriage and the a tte n d a n t
s o c ia l c o n t r o ls .
The F i r s t M eeting
I t i s apparent th a t th e average White person has few or
no c o n ta c ts w hich co u ld p o s s ib ly lea d to m arriage w ith a N egro.
Such c o n ta c ts a re h eld to a minimum and r e s t r i c t e d by the n ature
o f the o rg a n iz a tio n o f th e s o c ie t y .
C la s s i f ic a t i o n o f the typ es
of i n i t i a l c o n ta c t which r e s u lte d in in term arriage i s com p licated
somewhat by th e f a c t th a t many o f the cou p les in terv iew ed d id n ot
meet in Chicago and th a t the d a tes o f th e ir m arriages cover a p erio d
of more than f i f t y y e a r s .
I t i s n ot s u r p r is in g , in view o f th e f a c t th a t p erso n a l
a s s o c ia t io n betw een N egroes and Vs'hltes i s la r g e ly lim ite d to occu ­
p a tio n a l r e la t io n s h ip s , th a t such c o n ta c ts are the most common type
le a d in g to in term a r ria g e.
O ccupational r e la t io n s h ip s range from
the s in g le or o c c a s io n a l c o n ta c t of w a iter (o r oth er d isp en se r o f
s e r v ic e s ) and custom er, to lon g -co n tin u ed r e la t io n s h ip s between
employer and eraployoe and betwoen persons working to g e th e r .
The
55
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56
l a t t e r typ e o f r e la t io n s h ip i s most l i k e l y to le a d to m arriage fo r
th e p a r tic ip a n ts can become acq u ain ted over a p eriod o f tim e w ith ­
ou t exten d in g the r e la t io n s h ip so fa r beyond th e o ccu p a tio n a l con­
t e x t a s to arouse comment.
About h a lf o f th e m arriages o f White men and Negro women
from whom t h i s in form ation was ob tained were in i t i a t e d through some
typ e of o ccu p a tio n a l r e la t io n s h ip .
These i n i t i a l c o n ta c ts were o f
a wide v a r ie t y in c lu d in g employment in the same o f f i c e , custom er
and w a it r e s s , and counterman and customer in a r e s ta u r a n t.
More than o n e -th ir d of the Negro husbands met t h e ir White
w ives through o ccu p a tio n a l c o n ta c ts .
Of most freq u en t occurrence
were th e fo llo w in g s it u a t io n s : coachman (o r ch au ffeu r) and maid in
th e same h o u seh o ld , w a iter and pantry g i r l (o r oth er serv a n t work)
and waitress
in th e same h o t e l, cook (o r porter)^ in the same r e s ta u r a n t, and
w a ite r (o r w a itr e s s ) and custom er in a r e s ta u r a n t.
T his account
o f how she met h er Negro husband, to ld by an e ld e r ly White woman,
i s ra th er t y p ic a l:
I li v e d a t the h o t e l where I worked. . . . . He was w a ite r
and I was pantry g i r l . We came in c o n ta c t a l l the tim e. He
had t o come in the pantry to g et what he wanted......................That’ s
th e way we got to know each o t h e r .1
One o f my White women inform ants who was a w a itr e s s a t a
candy s to r e and tearoom where she met her husband, th e Negro por­
t e r , sa id :
I met him where 1 was employed.................. W a itresses fr e q u e n t­
l y marry Colored men. You marry p erson s from your s o c i a l e n v i­
ronment, That i s why i t i s f o o l i s h to ask , " I f So-and-So had
to marry a Colored man, why d id n ’ t she marry a b u sin e ss man i n ­
stea d o f a p o rter or laborer?" A person d oesn ’ t have the in ­
te n tio n o f marrying a Colored man, b u t happens to meet one th a t
she wantB to marry.®
P erson al in t e r v ie w .
'Personal in te r v ie w .
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57
A fter o c c u p a tio n a l c o n t a c t s , th e type o f s it u a t io n which
b rin g s th e g r e a t e s t number o f Negro-W hite co u p les to g e th e r i s th a t
o f becoming acq u ain ted through a th ir d p erso n .
About o n e - f if t h
o f both the White men and women met th e ir Negro w iv es and husbands
through a mutual f r ie n d or a cq u a in ta n ce.
This s it u a t io n u s u a lly
in v o lv e s p rev io u s b reak in g o f th e r u le s o f s o c ia l d is t a n c e .
Some­
tim es the White woman i s Introduced to her fu tu r e husband by a Ne­
gro woman she became acquainted w ith a t her p la c e o f work or by a
White fr ie n d who knows him.
u a tio n i s very u n u su a l.
In most o f th ese ca ses the s o c ia l s i t ­
In a number of c a s e s th e White spouse a l ­
ready has t i e s w hich a l l y him to th e Negro group.
T his was more
o fte n tru e o f White women than o f White men, many of th e former
m eeting th e ir second Negro husband a s the r e s u l t o f acq u ain tan ces
made w h ile m arried to th e ir f i r s t .
Others became acq u ain ted w ith
th e ir Colored husband through a s i s t e r or oth er r e l a t i v e who had
married a Negro,
In a few c a s e s a White person had a Negro s t e p ­
fa th e r and, a s a consequence, s o c i a l c o n ta c ts w ith Negroes which
r e s u lte d in m arriage to one,
Roughly tw o -th ir d s of the White men and Negro women and
t h r e e - f i f t h s o f the Negro men and White women Included In t h i s
study o f In term arriage in Chicago f i r s t met through e it h e r occupa­
t io n a l r e la t io n s h ip s or mutual a cq u a in ta n ces.
The rem aining cou­
p le s met in s e v e r a l ty p es o f s it u a t io n , each o f which accounted
fo r a sm all f r a c t io n o f a l l Negro-W hite in term a r ria g es.
In a few c a s e s Negroes l i v i n g in White communities married
White women whom they knew a s n eig h b o rs.
O c ca sio n a lly W hites l i v ­
in g in areas in p ro cess o f becoming p art o f the expanding Negro
community marry Negro n e ig h b o rs.
A Negro inform ant who m arried in
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58
1916 t o ld me how he met h i s White w ife In t h is way and was a b le to
c o u rt her w ith ou t arou sin g p a r e n ta l su sp icio n *
We met in C hicago. Her p eop le owned a s to r e and I l i v e d
u p s t a ir s and she l i v e d d o w n sta ir s. That was a t 2 9 - - La S a lle
S tr e e t [now a very poor Negro n eigh borhood]. White and B lack
li v e d n ex t door to each o th er th e r e . I liv e d in th e same
b u ild in g and c o u ld n 't h elp but see h e r . They li v e d r i g h t in
the s t o r e .
, . . « They [ w if e 's p a r e n ts] d id n 't know i t , n ot t i l l we were
m arried. They saw u s t a lk in g , but d id n 't th in k a n y th in g . She
would ten d to the sto r e and w e 'd t a lk . We would s i t on th e
s te p s and talk and th ey'd th in k n oth in g o f i t . Then we went
to Chicago H eights and g o t m arried. We se n t a telegram and
to ld her m o th er.!
Although i t would seem th a t c o n ta c t in the s c h o o ls l a s t i n g
months or y e a r s might le a d t o Negro-White f r ie n d s h ip s and m a rria g es,
I found t h is to be th e ca se in very few in s t a n c e s .
R e s id e n tia l
se g r e g a tio n r e s u lt s in alm ost com plete se g r e g a tio n o f Negroes and
W hites in the p u b lic s c h o o ls , fo r sch o o l d i s t r i c t s i n White n e ig h ­
borhoods c o n ta in few or no Negro ch ild r en and th o se in Negro a rea s
g e n e r a lly c o n ta in few White c h ild r e n .
S ev era l o f the h igh so h o o ls
have a mixed en rollm en t, b u t, I was t o ld , th e p u p ils tend to group
th em selv es according to r a c e .
That the tea ch ers or p r in c ip a l m ight
in te r v e n e to m aintain proper s o c ia l d is ta n c e i s shown in the s t a t e ­
ment below by a l i g h t brown Negro whose blond daughter i s co m p lete­
l y White in appearance:
. . . . 1 — — , th e p r in c ip a l o f Englewood High S ch ool, i s an
I r is h C a th o lic . My daughter was in the G lee Club th e r e . She
had been seen ta lk in g w ith some Colored b oys. The p r in c ip a l
c a lle d my daughter to h i s o f f i c e . He sa id : "Don't you know
you sh o u ld n 't p lay w ith C olored boys?"
My daughter i s hotheaded and asked him why n o t. He to ld
h er: "Don't you know th a t you low er your s o c ia l sta n d in g by
b ein g seen w ith Colored people?" My daughter s a id the Colored
boys had been ju s t as n ic e to her as the White boys and sa id
to the p r in c ip a l; "They're Ju st a s good a s you a re."
I g o t a l e t t e r from th e p r in c ip a l.
I t was a n ic e ly worded
^Personal in te r v ie w .
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59
l e t t e r . He sa id he wanted to see me and t a lk about my daugh­
t e r ’ s s o c i a l r e l a t io n s h ip s . I went down to h i s o f f i c e . P r in ­
c i p a l Y— — asked who I was and I said* " I ’m Mr. Jacob s." He
co u ld n ’ t say a n y th in g . He j u s t s a t th ere and didn’ t know what
he wanted to say.
He asked me* "Are you Colored?" and th en s a id , "That’ s
d i f f e r e n t . . . * . A fter th a t my daughter was l e t o u t o f th e
G lee C lub.1
Very few o f the in t e r r a c ia l co u p les I in terv iew ed met each
oth er through r e l ig io u s o r g a n iz a tio n s, fo r th e membership o f most
churches I s co n fin ed to e ith e r Negroes or W hites,
The o u tsta n d in g
example of a r e lig io u s group which makes no d is t in c t io n as to race
i s the Baha’ i f a i t h , one o f the t e n e ts o f which i s the u n ity or
oneness o f hum anity.
Two White women, but no White men, met t h e ir
Negro sp ouses in Chicago through th e B a h a 'i group,
one o f th e se
women sa id s
I met him in 1934. We knew each o th e r two y e a r s and we
a s s o c ia t e d in th e Baha’ i Cause to g e th e r . That was the o n ly
a s s o c ia t io n we had. Then in the f a l l o f 1936 we became en­
gaged . Then the a s s o c ia t io n became more g e n e r a l. We a c t u a lly
went ou t to g eth er then. B efore th a t we were good f r ie n d s , but
o n ly saw each other in B a h a 'i.2
At l e a s t a dozen Negro men and White women who met through
the Communist movement In Chicago were m arried during the p erio d
from 1932 through 1936.
These White women were In s e v e r a l in s ta n c e s
doing propaganda work fo r the Communist p arty in the Negro area a t
the tim e they met th e ir husbands.
There were very few such mar­
r ia g e s b efo re 1932 and, alth ou gh I made c a r e fu l in q u ir ie s , I heard
of b u t one m arriage o f a White man to a Negro woman in the Communist
group.
Whether because there are. few Negro women In th e group or
fo r oth er r e a so n s, in t e r r a c ia l a s s o c ia t io n , dan cin g, d a tin g , and
other r e la t io n s h ip s in Communist c i r c l e s are fa r more o f t e n between
1
P erso n a l in te r v ie w .
2
P erso n a l in te r v ie w .
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60
N e g r o m e n a n d W h i t e w om en t h a n b e t w e e n w h i t e m e n a n d B e g r o w om en*
C asual a s s o c ia t io n o f B egroes and W hites o f o p p o site se x
a t p la c e s of amusement* on th e beach, e t c . , ranks r e l a t i v e l y low
a s a means of c o n ta c t le a d in g t o m arriage b ecau se Negroes and
W hites g e n e r a lly freq u en t d i f f e r e n t p la c e s .
Most N egroes a tten d
p la c e s o f amusement in th e ir own community and would n o t be l i k e l y
to go to White dance h a l l s , bowling a l l e y s , r o l le r - s k a t in g r in k s ,
and th e l i k e where th ey are seldom w elcom e.
O p p o rtu n ities to be­
come acq u ain ted w ith s tr a n g e r s in p u b lic p la c e s , e s p e c ia lly fo r
p erson s o f o p p o site ra c e and s e x , are n o t g r e a t u n le s s one i s a
b i t b o ld .
Such c o n ta c ts do o c c a s io n a lly tak e p la c e a s i s a t t e s t e d
by th e f o llo w in g c a s e s .
A White woman when asked'under what circu m sta n ces she f i r s t
met her Negro husband r e p lie d !
W ell, I met him in the park. We used to go to Washington
Park. I had some g i r l f r ie n d s on the 3outh S id e , we met when
he was in the park w ith some f e l l o w s . There were about four
g i r l s and ono g i r l f r ie n d was C olored . We w e r e t a lk in g w ith
the f e llo w s and we made a d a te . A fter we l e f t th a t even ing
we made another d a t e . 7>e went to g eth er over a y e a r .2
One o f my Negro inform ants sa id j
I saw a p r e tty g i r l on the s t r e e t c a r on ce. She a ttr a c te d
me very much. She had a com plexion th a t was l i k e m ilk . While
we were r id in g she looked a t me and wrote her name and t e l e ­
phone number on a paper and dropped i t near me. When she go t
up I n o tic e d th a t she was c r ip p le d . I picked up the paper but
I never c a lle d h e r . I wondered why she wanted to see me. A
g i r l a s b e a u t if u l a s she was could have a t t r a c t e d Y/hlte men
even though she was c r ip p le d . I*ve had ?/hite g i r l s in ca rs
sto p by me when I was stan d in g on th e sid ew a lk and ask me i f
I atten d ed th r e e dances g iv en by Communist or a f f i l i a t e d
groups w ith an average atten d an ce of more than a thousand, and ob­
served th a t i t was v e r y seldom th a t a White man danced w ith a Ne­
gro woman. About f i v e per cen t o f th e p eo p le p resen t were N egroes,
tw o -th ir d s to f o u r - f i f t h s o f whom were men. The Negro men danced
w ith White women more fr e q u e n tly than w ith Colored women.
P erson al in te r v ie w .
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61
I was g o in g s o u th # 1
A lth o u g h m ost o f th e r e s t a u r a n t s and p l a c e s o f r e c r e a t i o n
and amusement i n th e H egro com m unity a r e p a t r o n iz e d a lm o s t e x c l u ­
s i v e l y by R e g r o e s , W h ites a r e a d m itte d i f t h e y c a r e t o a tte n d #
C e r ta in n ig h t c lu b 3 and c a b a r e t s i n th e N egro a r e a a r e r e g u l a r l y
p a t r o n iz e d by a la r g e p e r c e n ta g e o f W h ites# and m ix ed c o u p le s a r e
o f t e n num erous.- -The atm o sp h ere a t t h e s e p l a c e s i s
su c h t h a t th e
cu stom ary s o c i a l d i s t a n c e b e tw e e n th o two g r o u p s i s r e l a x e d .
Some
W hite men and women a r e a t t r a c t e d t o th e s e " b la c k and tan" r e s o r t s #
p erh ap s by c u r i o s i t y or th e d e s i r e f o r n o v e lt y # and may m eet and
dan ce w ith N eg ro es o f the o t h e r s e x .
Such c o n t a c t s o c c a s i o n a l l y
le a d t o m a r r ia g e .
The P e r io d o f C o u r tsh ip
The s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e o f C h icago i s
su ch t h a t N eg ro es and
W h ites a re s e p a r a te d by s tr o n g s o c i a l d i s t a n c e w h ich p e r m its e c o ­
nom ic c o - o p e r a t io n b u t te n d s to m in im ize d i r e c t s o c i a l r e l a t i o n ­
s h ip s and to l i m i t and d e f in e
t h e ir s c o p e .
C o n ta c ts b etw een Ne­
g r o e s and W h ites o f o p p o s it e s e x are fe w i n number and a r e e x p e c te d
by s o c i e t y t o b e d e v o id o f f e e l i n g s o f te n d e r o r p a s s i o n a t e a f f e c ­
tio n .
What h a p p en s when such p e r s o n s a r e a t t r a c t e d to one a n o th e r
i n s p i t e o f th e c a s t e b a r r ie r ?
When t h in o c c u r s s o c i e t y o f f e r s
them no en cou ragem en t to m a in ta in f r ie n d s h ip o r a s s o c i a t i o n o f th e
ty p e t h a t n o r m a lly e v e n t u a t e s in m a r r ia g e .
B oth th e N egro and
W hite s o c i e t i e s e x e r t s tr o n g p r e s s u r e to p r e v e n t m a rria g e and d i s ­
c o n tin u e th e r e l a t i o n s h i p .
O r d in a r ily " a l l th e w o rld lo v o s u lo v o r ," b u t i f
a p a ir
a re o f o p p o s it e r a c e th e p a th to th e a l t a r i s s tr e w n w it h o b s t a c l e s .
C o u r tin g c o u p le s o f th e same ra o e a r e u s u a l l y r e c o g n iz e d a s p o t e n ?
'
~ -------- — 1-----------------------------------------------“P e r s o n a l I n t e r v ie w .
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62
t i a l mateB by t h e ir fr le n d a and r e l a t i v e s , and m ild s o c i a l p r e s ­
sure to marry In c r e a se s w ith th e le n g th o f a s s o c ia t io n .
They are
expected to have d a tes and to a tten d p a r t ie s , d ances, and o th er
s o c ia l g a th erin g s as a c o u p le .
Negro-W hite c o u p le.
Ho such th in g i s exp ected o f th e
S o c ie ty regards them n o t a s le g it im a t e p o ten ­
t i a l mates but a s a c h a lle n g e to the e x i s t i n g s o c ia l system .
As
the Negro and White groups form , in moat r e s p e c t s , m u tually e x c lu ­
s iv e s o c ia l w o rld s, an I n t e r r a c ia l co u p le has l i t t l e op p ortu n ity
to p a r t ic ip a t e to g eth er In la r g e r groups.
The Negro p artn er i s
an o u ts id e r , o s tr a c iz e d by s o c i a l usage from 7/hite s o c ie t y , w h ile
the White f ia n c e or f ia n c e e i s a ls o an o u tsid e r and n ot welcome
in most Negro c i r c l e s .
In a d d itio n , th e co u p le w i l l be barred from
p la c e s o f r e c r e a tio n and en terta in m en t tfiich do not admit N egroes.
The e x te n t to which they may be cut o f f from normal s o c i a l p a r t i c i ­
p a tio n as a cou p le i s r e v e a le d in th e se statem en ts by a White womans
I liv e d a t 12th and M ichigan then [1 9 0 0 ], My mother and
I had a fr o n t room. I used to meet Mr. Douglas and we would
walk in back o f M ichigan Avenue by th e tr a c k s . We would walk
up and down Indiana Avenue and F if te e n t h S t r e e t . I was a fr a id
someone would s e e u s , I d id n ’ t know anybody who was in term arried. . . . .
We used to meet on Indiana Avenue and fin d a warm p la c e to
sta n d . We d id not know where we co u ld go to g e th e r .^
Many mixed c o u p le s , no d oubt, y i e l d to the t e r r i f i c s o c ia l
p ressu re and term in a te the r e la t io n s h ip .
I f they cannot or w ill
n ot g iv e each other up, th e a t t it u d e o f the community and t h r e a t­
ened l o s s of s ta tu s in most c a s e s ca u ses the p a r tic ip a n ts to a t ­
tempt to co n cea l the a f f a i r .
They may t e l l a few sym pathetic
f r ie n d s , b u t th e ir main concern g e n e r a lly i s to m ain tain s e c r e c y .
The a s s o c ia t io n i s regarded by the community as i l l i c i t and, li k e
^Personal In te rv iew .
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
In tim a te a s s o c ia t io n between one man and a n o th e r 's w if e , mast be
concealed*
The w a it r e s s quoted once b efo re s a id ;
. . . .
I fe lt
d id n 't
fe llo w
We d id
We d id n 't go ou t to g eth er much b efo re we were married*
I d id n 't want to go w ith him u n t i l I was m arried. I
want p eop le to say I was running around w ith a Colored
u n le s s I m arried him* i thought i t w ou ld n 't h elp me.
most o f our ta lk in g over the te le p h o n e .!
O b jection to the in term a rria g e by White p a r e n ts , e x c e p t
in unusual circu m sta n ces, i s a fo reg o n e c o n clu sio n and i s g e n e r a lly
the c a s e w ith Negro p a r e n ts, a lth o u g h the d isap p roval o f the l a t t e r
i s l e s s v ig o r o u s .
This p a r e n ta l o b je c tio n i s seldom based on ly on
p erso n a l shortcom ings o f th e fu tu r e sp ou se—th ey might know n oth in g
about him or her ex cep t h i s c o lo r —b u t, r a th e r , on th e f a c t th a t
‘ m arriage a c r o ss the c a s t e , or c o lo r , l i n e i s n o t sa n ctio n ed by the
s o c ie t y .
Most p a ren ts adhere to th e r u le o f endogamy o f the c u l­
ture and fin d i t bard to b e lie v e th a t one o f t h e ir c h ild r e n i s
about to v io l a t e i t .
B ut, no m atter stoat t h e ir p erso n a l view s on
in term arriage a r e , p a ren ts w ill in a l l p r o b a b ility f e e l i t th e ir
duty to guard t h e ir c h ild a g a in s t a m e sa llia n c e which would n ot
on ly b rin g him s u ff e r in g and scorn , but would d isg r a c e th e fa m ily
as w e l l .
The fo llo w in g i s
t y p ic a l o f th e a t t it u d e o f White p aren ts:
The a t t it u d e o f my fa m ily i s t h i s . They f e e l th a t I am
r u in in g my l i f e and d isg r a c in g the fa m ily . That i s the a t t i ­
tude o f everybody in the fa m ily . They want me to come back
and they w i l l f o r g iv e ev er y th in g I have done. They d o n 't want
to admit th a t I lo v e Jimmy, i f I retu rn they w i l l fo r g iv e me
and cover i t u p .2
Most of the White p a r t ic ip a n t s , and many of the Negro, were
a fr a id or r e lu c t a n t to l e t t h e ir p a ren ts know o f t h e ir i l l i c i t
c o u r ts h ip .
The woman who used to walk up and down the s t r e e t w ith
!.‘r . Douglas because she d id n 't know where they could go f i n a l l y
married him w h ile her mother was in C a lifo r n ia . She sa id she kept
1
—■ —
'
'
P erson al in te r v ie w .
P erso n a l in terview *
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64
th e
c o u rts h ip
a se c re t because;
. . , . I wanted to spare my m other’ s f e e l i n g s .
1 was a fr a id someone would see u s.
That I s why
My mother knew I was g o in g w ith some man. She wanted to
know why my fr ie n d d id n ’ t come to the h o u se. I t o ld h er th a t
th a t was h is s e c r e t and th a t I co u ld n ’ t t e l l .
We u sed to walk to g eth er two or th ree tim es a week* Some*
tim es I ’ d se e him w alk by our house and p r e t t y soon I ’ d le a v e
and meet him. I was c a r e fu l about t e l l i n g b ecau se I d id n o t
want to h u rt my m other. I d id n ’ t ca re fo r m y self so much.-*Many o f the p a r tic ip a n ts i n Negro-W hite m arriages are n o t
su b je c t to the f u l l w eig h t of s o c i a l p ressu re during the p erio d o f
c o u r ts h ip , e ith e r because t h e ir p aren ts are no lo n g er l i v i n g , or
because they have l e f t home and th e ir o ld group t i e s are n o t w e ll
in te g r a te d in the s o c ia l l i f e o f th e community.
T his had been tru e
of a la r g e p ro p o rtio n of the person s I in te r v ie w e d .
I d e n t i f ic a t i o n
w ith the p r o sp e c tiv e spouse g e n e r a lly in v o lv e s the abandonment o f
the White p e r so n 's s o c ia l w orld and m o d ific a tio n o f th a t o f the
Negro.
Community p ressu re makes i t d i f f i c u l t to op en ly carry on
an I n te r r a c ia l c o u r ts h ip .
I f th e man i s White he can u s u a lly c a l l
a t th e woman’ s home or meet her a t a rendezvous in th e Negro a r e a ,
but a Negro man cannot o r d in a r ily c a l l a t the home o f h is ’.Vhite
sw eeth ea rt.
Some arrangement such a3 the f o llo w in g may be made;
He o n ly c a lle d me on the phone. My mother knew he was the
man I was going o u t w ith when he c a l l e d , but she c o u ld n ’ t t e l l
he was Colored b ecau se he d o esn ’ t have any a c c e n t. He never
came to ray h ou se. He only c a lle d me on the phone to t e l l me
where to m eet him.
I l e f t home In June b ecau se I wanted more freedom and b e ­
cau se moving o u t here meant I could see Jimmy more o f t e n . . .
. . They don’ t know whore I aa now. Very few p eop le know. 2
I f th e White g i r l ’ s p a ren ts d id perm it a Negro s u it o r to
c a l l , r e s u lt s l i k e the fo llo w in g m ight occur;
-------------- 1---------------------------------------------- g----------------------------------------------------
P erson al in te r v ie w .
p erso n a l in te r v ie w .
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65
My husband came to see me b efo re I was married and the
neighborhood was sc a n d a liz e d . The woman n ex t door s a id , "Was
th a t a Negro at your house?" I s a id , "Yes." I waB seldom home.
My mother had to bear the brunt o f i t and she d id n 't li k e i t .
My husband came tw ice and both tim es i t caused a fu r o r .
Y es, th a t i s why my husband d id n 't come any more. I p refer red
goin g to h is h o u se .1
The sentim ent a g a in s t m isceg en a tio n i s so stro n g th a t in
C hicago, and oth er northern c i t i e s as w e ll , Negro-White cou p les
have fr e q u e n tly been a r r e ste d or stopped by the p o lic e in circum ­
sta n c es where persons o f the same race w ould n o t have been m o lested .
A s o c ia l worker in the Women's Court sa id :
. . . . There was one case of a n ic e Colored fe llo w who was
s i t t i n g in a car w ith a White g i r l . He was a r r e ste d and thrown
in to j a i l . H is fa th e r was a prominent Negro and he g o t a law ­
y er and g o t him o u t. But th a t was a n a sty exp erien ce fo r the
b e y ,2
A l i g h t Negro who had been a s o c i a l worker r e la t e d the f o l ­
low ing ex p erien ce;
. . . . Once I was in Washington Park w ith a dark f r ie n d . As
a m atter of f a c t he was b la c k , I met two White g i r l s from the
U n iv e r s ity th a t I knew and introduced them to him. We were
w alking through th e park and a p o lic e car came and a policem an
sa id to the g i r l s , "What are you g i r l s doing here? Go on home,"
I went to the squad car and asked th e o f f ic e r what was the
m a tter. He s a id , "I w a sn 't ta lk in g to you. Why d o n 't you mind
your b u sin ess?" I took th e number o f the p o lic e car, but we
d ecid ed n ot to do an yth in g about i t . We w eren 't an xious to
have any p u b lic it y ,^
A Negro woman n arrated th e fo llo w in g encounter she and her
White fia n c e had w ith the p o lic e ;
Once we were coming from a show. A policem an was d r iv in g
slow in a car and fo llo w ed u s for two or th ree b lo c k s . He go t
out o f the car and stopped u s. He asked us where we were goin g
and we to ld him we were coming home from the show. He asked
me i f I was a s p o r tin g g i r l and I s a id , "Do 1 look li k e one?"
He looked a t me and sa id I w a sn 't the g i r l he thought I was.
1
P erson al in te r v ie w .
2
P erson al in te r v ie w .
^Personal in te r v ie w .
I
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
The policem an l e t u s go and we oame to where I was l i v i n g .
We brought some ic e cream and [my c o u s in ] asked why I d id n 't
b rin g som ething to d rin k . I t o ld her th a t I d id n 't ca re to
d rin k and d id n 't want Arthur to g e t drunk.
My co u sin s a id , "There’ s a ca r stan d in g o u ts id e ." I sa id
to Arthur, "Now you c a n 't s ta y to n ig h t. The p o lic e car i s
w a itin g out th ere." He had to le a v e then and the policem an
to ld him th a t he was going to r a id the house i f he had sta y e d .
O c ca sio n a lly the fa m ily o f a White person about to marry
a Negro r e s o r t s to th r e a ts or fo r c e to p reven t th e a ll ia n c e .
They
may have a s a n ity t e s t ordered or attem pt to r e s t r i c t th e movements
o f t h e ir loved one.
Reports of such occu rren ces reach the news­
papers from time to tim e.
One of my Negro inform ants sa id th at
h is White w if e 's o ld e s t s i s t e r t r ie d to kidnap her j u s t b efo re the
wedding when
. . . . a few days b e fo r e our m arriage i t leaked o u t.
pose through the lic e n s e bureau.
I sup­
I was c a lle d up and th rea ten ed . They sa id I would be
b o ile d in o i l .
I g o t two or th ree c a l l s a day fo r th ree days
b e fo r e we were m arried but I t o ld them the p la n s would go
through.^
1
P erso n a l in te r v ie w .
2
P erson al in te r v ie w .
with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
CHAPTER VI
S O C IA L S A N C T IO N S W HICH FOLLOW IN T E R M A R R IA G E
Som e f o r m
in te rm a rria g e
is
of
to
be
N e g ro e s a n d W h ite s
cago
and
th a t
p re ssu re
re la tio n s h ip .
If
w o u ld b e
a
ev e r,
i t
in c re a s e s
tio n s
p ro b a b ly
w ith
th a t
ru le s
of
as
H in d u
c a s te
in
s ta te s
tio n s
is
th e
of
th e
p ro h ib itin g
n e ith e r
th e
m o res.
a re
depended
tiv e s
s y s te m .
m a rria g e s
nor
c o n s titu te
upon
to
s o c ia l
o f b o th
W h ite
and
th e
m o tiv e s
to
th e
of
th e
m a rria g e ,
th e re
On th e
c o n tra ry ,
how ­
of
n e g a tiv e
san c­
re g u la te
by
of
th e
th e
conduct of
g ro u p .
re lig io u s
In
m any
s a n c tio n s ,
s o u th e rn
a n d m any w e s t e r n
th e re
are
le g a l
w e ll
of
N eg ro es
to
v io la tio n
of
or
N eg ro
th e
of
In
o th e r
sanc­
C h ic a g o
su c h u n io n s
o r,
n e g a tiv e
th e re
w h ic h ,
in d e e d ,
s a n c tio n s
m a rria g e s .
th ro u g h
th ro u g h
m en a n d
as
fo lk w a y s
d iffu s e ,
N e g ro -W h ite
e x e rte d
as
W h ite s .
p ro h ib itio n
P re s s u re E x e rc is e d
S p o u ses* F a m ilie s
and
s o c ia l
s te p .
ru le s
en fo rc e d
C h i­
w ith
th re a t
to
in
g rea t
c o n tin u a tio n
th a t
th a t
th e
p re v e n t
p ressu re
or
seen
d is ta n c e
a c q u a in te d ,
s to p p e d
ta k in g
N e g ro -W h ite
In
le g a l
a
s o c ia l
becom e
m a rria g e
P o w e rfu l u n o rg a n iz e d ,
S o c ia l
The
as
c o n fo rm s
S ta te s
re lig io u s
n e v e rth e le s s ,
a c t
endogam y a r e
U n ite d
s tro n g
If
We h a v e
in te rm a rria g e .
m any fro m
i t
s o c ie tie s
p re v e n te d .
by
m a rria g e ,
s a n c tio n s
so
n ec essary
s o c ia l p re ssu re
am ount o f
d e te rs
is
c o u p le s
d is c o u ra g e
th is
g re a te r
S o c ia l
s e p a ra te d
m ix e d
to
c o n tro l
e ffe c tiv e ly
are
s h o u ld
o p e ra te s
in d iv id u a ls
s o c ia l
w om en
th e
p a re n ts
and
w ho i n t e r m a r r y
re la ­
is
67
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
an
im portant means of s o c i a l c o n t r o l.
Because th e s e r io u s d is g r a c e
atta ch ed to suoh m arriages extends to the fa m ily o f the White
sp ou se, many of th e White husbands and w ives do n o t r e v e a l t h e ir
m arriage and a v o id c o n ta c t w ith th e ir r e l a t i v e s .
This avoidance
of s o c ia l r e la t io n s w ith p a r e n ts, s ib li n g s , and more d is t a n t k in
cau ses a good d e a l o f d i s t r e s s to many o f th o se concerned.
One
White woman w ith a Negro husband sa id :
I have on ly one p a ren t, my f a t h e r , b u t I d o n 't know i f h e 's
l i v i n g or n o t b ecau se I severed a l l co n n ectio n s w ith my p eop le
when I married because I d id n 't want t o i n t e r f e r e , . . . . I
w ould n't want anybody e l s e to s u ffe r fo r an yth in g I d id ,
. . . . My you n gest s i s t e r knows. She l i v e s h ere in C hicago,
or was th e l a s t time I saw h e r . She and her husband were very
f r ie n d ly w ith u s . But I f i n a l l y l o s t m yself from them because
she had c h ild r e n and I thought i t might cause d i f f i c u l t i e s ,
Another White woman who i s m arried to a Negro and h a s n 't
communicated w ith her paren ts and r e l a t iv e s s in c e she l e f t home
some t h ir t y y ea rs ago, alth ou gh both she and they l i v e in C hicago,
sa id ;
. . . . I d id n 't want them to know. I had so many r e l a t i v e s
and b ro th ers and s i s t e r s and everybody I thought i t would be
b e t t e r to sta y by m y se lf. There were too many of them. I used
to cry f o r y ea rs and y ea rs about home.
They d o n 't know anything about i t to d a y . They n ever knew
much about C olored. There were so many p eop le con cerned. I 'd
much rather they d id n 't know where I am than know the tr u th .2
Most o f the White m ales and fem a le s who marry Negroes do
not tr y , or f a i l , to keep th e ir p a ren ts, s i s t e r s , and b ro th ers from
le a rn in g of the m arriage.
Knowledge of the m arriage among other
r e l a t i v e s appears to d ecrease w ith the d is ta n c e of the r e la t io n s h ip .
The immediate r e l a t i v e s o f the White husband or w ife very fr e q u e n tly
f in d i t n ecessa ry to co n cea l the f a c t of the in term a rria g e from
oth er r e l a t iv e s as w e ll as from fr ie n d s and a s s o c ia t e s in order to
Personal in te r v ie w .
2
Personal in t e r v ie w .
with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
•
69
p r o te c t t h e ir s o c ia l standing*
U n less sec r e c y i s m aintained r e l a ­
t i v e s of the o ffen d er may s u ff e r as i s su g g ested by a young White
w ife*
My s i s t e r has a very good job where I ’m working and my
b roth er works th e r e , to o . . . . . She d o e sn 't want me to say
an yth in g about my m arriage [ t o a N egro]. I d o n 't know what
she would do i f th ey found o u t. I g u ess sh e'd q u it her job
i f they found o u t . S h e's p lan n in g to g e t married by Christm as
and I th in k her boy fr ie n d would q u it her i f he found o u t .l
A f i n a l example o f the stigm a and d isg r a c e attaoh ed by
White s o c ie t y to m arriage w ith a Negro i s th e testim ony o f a White
woman of an old American fa m ily who made such a m arriage some y ea rs
a f t e r her o ld e r s i s t e r , to whom she r e f e r s below , married a Negroj
. . . . We a l l blame her fo r what we c a l l the dow nfall o f th e
fa m ily . She r e s e n ts i t o f c o u r se .
Y es, her husband worked fo r my f a t h e r .
We d id n 't know any­
th in g about i t .
I can remember when she went away. She sa id
she was going to v i s i t our aunt fo r a weekend. The n ext th in g
she had d isap p eared . Nobody knew where she went. Nobody knew
i t and we knew n oth in g about her b ein g w ith a Colored man t i l l
her f i r s t c h ild was born and he took a p ic tu r e of him and th e
c h ild .
He sen t th e p ic tu r e to my fa th e r and th a t to ld the sto r y .
My fa th e r put two and two to g e th e r and s a id , "That's H elen 's
baby." He went o f f the h andle then. They kept i t very q u ie t.
I d id n 't know aboutrbut I heard my fa th e r when he was on a ram­
page and sa id something about my s i s t e r ’ s baby. I was a young
g i r l and was c u r io u s . Then I saw th e p ic tu r e and knew what had
happened.
My p a ren ts k ep t i t q u ie t t i l l she came home w ith th e c h ild .
My l i t t l e s i s t e r s d id n 't know b e tte r th an to take the c h ild out
and I t caused q u ite a s t i r . F a th e r 's p eople found out and sa id
som ething. My s i s t e r sh o u ld n 't have come. My fa th e r wrote
th a t she c o u ld n 't come, b u t she came anyway. My mother was
d i f f e r e n t . She w ou ld n 't shut the door on h er. She sa id what
i s done Is done and 'ne should make the b e s t o f i t .
No, the town d id n 't know about i t or the fa m ily would have
had to move. Only some of the people noar-by found o u t. My
m other's p eop le d o n 't know anything about i t or they would have
d is in h e r ite d h er. I'm sure they d id n 't know. They would have
disowned oven those who knew n oth in g about I t .
My f a t h e r 's people were d if f e r e n t . They would have kept
i t q u ie t . Some of them knew, but n ot a l l . Three o f my u n c le s
■^Personal in te r v ie w .
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
70
and two o f my aunts
o f them d id n 't know
th e l a s t tim e I was
dren?" and I had t o
who liv e d r ig h t near u s knew. The r e s t
and d o n 't know today. One o f them sa id
home, "Why d o n 't you ev er b rin g your c h i l ­
lie .
My c o u s in , my f a t h e r ’ s b r o th e r 's son, was a prominent min­
i s t e r . This w on't h u rt him b ecau se he I s dead now. Think how
he would f e e l i f he knew. How would he f e e l I f someone t o ld
him, "I saw your c o u s in ’ s Colored c h ild r e n ."
B efore one o f my s i s t e r s m arried she to ld the man, "I have
a c o n f e s s io n to make and perhaps you w on't want to marry me
when I t e l l you." Then she t o ld him about the in term arriage
in th e fa m ily . I t ..knocked him back, b u t he m arried her anyway.
He s a id , "If th ey can l i v e w ith them, I can l i v e n ex t door to
them." He i s w ond erful. He comes here and shows no d i f f e r ­
e n c e . I can t e l l th a t he f e e l s a l i t t l e un natu ral about i t .
Another b r o th e r -in -la w was j u s t the o p p o site about I t .
My younger s i s t e r h id i t , and when he found out he was going
to g e t a d iv o r c e . She t o ld him th a t th a t w a sn 't grounds fo r
d iv o rc e as she w asn 't r e s p o n s ib le fo r what her s i s t e r s had
done. He sa id th a t she could never v i s i t them. H e's g o tte n
over i t in r e c e n t y e a r s and has even been h e r e , but he i s n ' t
a t a l l li k e the oth er b r o t h e r - in - la w .1
There i s l i t t l e d if f e r e n c e in th e s o c ia l p ressu res a p p lied
a g a in s t White m ales and White fem a les who interm arry; and Negro
men who break the ru le o f endogamy are su b jec ted to much the same
s o c ia l s a n c tio n s a s Negro women.
There i s , however, a d iffe r e n c e
betw een th e c o n tr o ls e x e r c is e d upon White sp ouses and th o se upon
Negro sp o u se s.
The Negro s o c ie t y i s somewhat more t o le r a n t than
i s the W hite, and w hile i t may str o n g ly disap prove and r e s e n t the
in term a rria g e o f one o f i t s members, th e r e l a t i v e s of the o ffen d er
are n ot o r d in a r ily th ereb y d ish on ored .
Negro men and women f e e l
com pelled to co n cea l t h e ir m arriages from fa m ily and r e l a t i v e s In
few er c a s e s than do th e ir White w ives and husbands.
I f th e White husband or w ife of a Negro does n ot seek to
avoid c o n ta c t w ith h is fa m ily and k in , he w i l l n e v e r th e le s s be d e ­
n ied normal s o c ia l r e la t io n s h ip s w ith them.
The White p a r tn e r 's
fa m ily and r e l a t i v e s n ea rly alw ays d is p la y a g r e a te r or le s s e r d e^ P ersonal in te r v ie w .
R e p ro d u c e d with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
gree of o p p o sitio n and h o s t i l i t y i f th ey le a r n o f the m arriage.
Sometimes th e r e l a t i v e s o f the White p artn er in a Negro-'White mar­
r ia g e regard th e ir kinsman as dead and have no fu r th e r in te r c o u r se
w ith him.
A White woman, th e widow o f a Negro, s a id , "I s t i l l lo v e
my fa m ily b u t they don’ t f e e l as I d o................... Tome they are dead.
To t h e ir fr ie n d s and to them I am d e a d , O n e
of the White hus­
bands sa id : "I have seen my b ro th er once in t h ir t y y e a r s .
2
asked my b roth er about me and he to ld them I was d ea d .
An example o f the e x te n t to which
ners are o s tr a c iz e d by t h e ir r e l a t i v e s i s
Someone
many of the White p a r t­
t h is statem en t by a White
man whose w ife i s Negro, r e fe r r in g to h is b ro th ers and s i s t e r s :
. . . . They don’ t want the c h ild r e n to know i t .
They don’ t
never m ention my name among the c h ild r e n ...................
The f i r s t g e n e r a tio n , th ey a l l know i t .
The u n c le s and
aunts know. But sin c e th en , th e y ’ ve put the s o f t p ed al on i t .
The c h ild r e n and them, none know. They know n oth in g about i t .
I ’ve got hundreds of r e l a t i v e s I w o u ld n 't know i f I saw them
on the s t r e e t . I d o n 't even know some o f my s i s t e r s ' names
a f t e r they g o t m arried. No one approves, you know t h a t . 3
The th r e a t of s o c ia l cen su re may fo r c e p aren ts or s ib li n g s
to sev er co n n ectio n s with a lo v ed one who has m arried a cro ss the
c a s te l i n e .
One White Informant sa id th a t when she met her b roth er
a f t e r t h e ir f a t h e r 's death, he to ld her:
". . . . We m ight have been very c lo s e to each o th e r . Now th a t
you have m arried as you d id we can never mean an yth in g to each
o th e r . What do you th in k myfr ie n d s w i l l th in k i f they knew
my s i s t e r m arried a Colored man?
I c a n 't have an yth in g to do
w ith y o u ."4
Another White woman lam ented th a t she had been u n able to
pay her l a s t r e s p e c ts to her mother b ecau se her s i s t e r r e fu s e d to
l e t her know of th e ir m other's d ea th .
1
3
P erson al in te r v ie w .
P erson al in te r v ie w .
2
4
F u n erals are the one o cca sio n
P erson al In te rv iew .
P erson al In te r v ie w .
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72
In our s o c ie t y when r e l a t i v e s and even d is t a n t k in f e e l i t t h e ir
duty as w e ll as p r iv ile g e to be p r e se n t.
For the White person who
has m arried a Negro t h is i s l i k e l y to be a v ery u n p lea sa n t s it u a ­
t io n ,
I f one o f h i s or her c l o s e r e l a t i v e s should d i e , he w i l l
u s u a lly be expected to go to th e fu n e r a l but w ith ou t th e Negro
spouse or c h ild r e n .
As d is t a n t r e l a t i v e s , f r ie n d s , and a cq u a in t­
ances o f th e d eceased , who perhaps know n othing o f th e interm ar­
r ia g e in t h e fa m ily , w i l l a ls o be a t th e fu n era l i t would be a
t e r r ib le and damaging blow to th e White fa m ily i f i t v/ere n ecessa ry
to in trod u ce a Negro r e l a t iv e .
O c ca sio n a lly th e s it u a t io n i s saved
by su b terfu g e a s in one c a se in which the Negro husband was a b le
to a tten d h is m o th e r -in -la w 's fu n e r a l by p o sin g as h is w if e 's ch au f­
feu r.
In o th er c a ses the r e l a t i v e s and c lo s e fr ie n d s a lrea d y knoww
of the m arriage and the Negro-White fa m ily may be a b le to a tten d
the f u n e r a l, but t h e ir p resen ce makes fo r a s tr a in e d atm osphere.
I f th e White husband or w ife o f a Negro d ie s few White r e l a ­
t iv e s are l i k e l y to atten d the fu n e r a l.
C lose r e l a t i v e s freq u en tly,
do a tten d t h is f i n a l ceremony fo r one whom they had shunned fo r
years p r e v io u s ly .
As i t i s very improbable th a t any o f th e ir
fr ie n d s w i l l se e them th e r e , th ese r e l a t iv e s may s u r r e p t it io u s ly
d isch arg e t h is l a s t duty w ith ou t endangering th e ir s o c i a l p o s it io n .
The Negro widow or widower and c h ild r e n , however, cannot exp ect
subsequent v i s i t s from th ese in -la w s.
While rep ro b a tio n may u s u a lly be e x p ecte d , some White par­
en ts have accepted or even approved of t h e ir c h i l d ' s marriage to a
Negro.
Those who approved were in n ea rly every in sta n c e f o r e ig n -
born and f r e e from tho u su a l American abhorrence o f m isceg en a tio n .
In two or th ree c a ses g i r l s under le g a l age ob tain ed p a ren ta l con -
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73
Bent to marry Negro husbands.
In one remarkable ca se which o c­
cu rred in th e 1 8 9 0 's , a Negro man met h i s French Canadian w ife a t
th e home of her u n cle w ith whom h e roomed.
Her mother con sen ted
t o the m arriage b efo re they became engaged and a f t e r the m arriage
she liv e d w ith th e couple u n t i l her death more than twenty y ea rs
la te r .
One of the w if e 's s i s t e r s a ls o liv e d w ith the I n te r r a c ia l
fa m ily , and the o ld er c h ild r e n lea rn ed to speak French b efo re they
le a rn ed E n g lish .
This seldom happens because White p aren ts and
r e l a t i v e s are u s u a lly u n w illin g to incur the censure o f White s o ­
c i e t y which would fo llo w open acceptance and r e c o g n itio n o f such
an a ll i a n c e .
White p aren ts n o t in fr e q u e n tly become r e c o n c ile d to t h e ir
c h i l d ' s in term a rria g e.
The a f f e c t io n o f parent fo r son or daugh­
te r and o f s ib lin g for b roth er or s i s t e r may b rin g about f o r g iv e ­
n e s s and some s o c ia l in te r c o u r s e , but the Negro sp ouse, and c h i l ­
dren unable to p ass as W hite, do n ot u s u a lly accompany the White
p erson who has v io la t e d the in term arriage taboo on v i s i t s to the
p a r e n ta l home.
White r e l a t i v e s are more fr e e to v i s i t the i n t e r ­
r a c i a l home and o c c a s io n a lly do come to a cce p t the Negro r e l a t i v e .
A few White p aren ts who o b je c te d v io le n t ly to the m arriage were
l a t e r w illin g to make th e ir home w ith th e ir daughter and Negro so n in -la w during th eir old a g e.
One o f my Negro inform ants s a id o f
h is w if e 's p aren ts;
Her fa th e r was French and German and her mother was f u l l
I r is h .
When we married they d id n 't care so much about i t , but b e­
fo r e they d ied every one o f them liv e d w ith me. He [her f a ­
th er J was w orth £150,000 a t one tim e but he l o s t i t a l l . He
was li v in g w ith me, her b ro th ers were li v in g w ith me, and her
s iB te r was w ith me fo r a w h ile . No, my w if e 's mother nevor
liv e d w ith me. She died b efo re th a t.
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74
When they needed a home they came to l i v e w ith me. In
1917 ray w if e ’ s s i s t e r was l i v i n g w i'h me. She sa id a t my t a ­
b l e , "I d o n 't th in k any C olored man i s good enough to marry a
White woman." She sa id th at w h ile she was sta y in g a t my house
and e a tin g a t my t a b l e . She had a sharp tongue and d id n ’ t ca re
who heard what she s a i d . 1
T his same Inform ant shows th a t h is r e la t io n s h ip w ith White
r e l a t i v e s i s o n e -sid e d , f o r he cannot v i s i t t h e ir homes w ith o u t
s u b je c tin g them to censure*.
My w i f e ' 8 l a s t s i s t e r came h ere f o r her two-week v a c a tio n .
She was w ill in g to come here f o r her v a c a tio n , b u t she d id n 't
want me to go to her home in W iscon sin...................My b r o t h e r - in law i s as f in e a man as I have ever se e n . I w o u ld n 't th in k
o f going th ere because I might em barrass him. Somebody he
knows might come th ere and he would have to e x p la in who I was.
l i e ' l l come here and be ju 3 t a s f r ie n d ly as anybody. He and
h is w ife are b o th f in e p eo p le......................He i s ray w i f e ' s b r o t h e r .2
Even the French Canadian woman p r e v io u s ly m entioned was
l a t e r o s tr a c iz e d -try her b roth er whose w ife would n ot agree to a s ­
s o c ia te with Negro in - la w s .
I found a few c a s e s in which White
persons w ith a d u lt c h ild r e n co n tra cted a m arriage w ith a Negro and
as a r e s u lt were shunned by th e ir c h ild r e n .
man
An e ld e r ly I t a lia n
who had n in e li v in g c h ild r e n by h is f i r s t w ife (who
d ied f o r t y -
s ix yea rs a f t e r they were m arried in I t a ly ) and then married a Ne­
gro woman sa id sa d ly j
My c h ild r e n want to sh oot me fo r I t , but th ey are n ic e
c h ild r e n .
. . . . I got t h is boy here but he d o n 't ca re fo r me because
I married t h is Negro. I d o n 't blame him. I t ' s my f a u l t . . .
I go t t h ir t y - t h r e e gra n d ch ild ren . I l i k e to se e them
now...... Nobody
know I married t h is Colored woman. Only
my c h ild r e n .
They f e e l bad. Nobody I s speaking to me. I t e l l
you, my boy, on F a th e r 's Day I g o t no l e t t e r and I had no mon­
ey . 3
The p a ren ts and n e a r e st k in o f White men ard women m arried
to Negroes may fin d i t d i f f i c u l t to sever a l l r e la t io n s h ip w ith
P ersonal in te r v ie w .
3
P erson al in te r v ie w .
Personal in te r v ie w .
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75
t h e ir r e l a t i v e because of th e str e n g th o f a f f e c t i o n a l t i e s which
e x is t e d f o r many years p r io r to the ir r e g u la r m arriage.
D is ta n t
k in , however, a r e le s s l i k e l y to have any d e s ir e to r e t a in con n ec­
t io n s w ith th e tra n sg resso r.
Even i f the White husband or w ife i s
n o t o s tr a c iz e d by h is k in , th e Negro spouse i s seldom a ccep ted by
them.
N e ed less to say, as in term a rria g e i s n ot sa n ctio n ed by the
s o c ie t y i t seldom b rin g s r e l a t iv e s o f the White and Negro p a rtn ers
in t o reco g n ized r e la t io n s h ip s w ith each o th e r .
In most c a s e s th ese
two k in s h ip groups have n o th in g to do w ith one an oth er.
Although they u s u a lly d isap p rove of th e m arriage, a White
person who m arried a Negro i s more r e a d ily accepted by th e N egro's
r e l a t i v e s than i s a Negro spouse by the White p e r so n 's r e l a t i v e s .
Complete o stra cism of th e cou p le by Negro p aren ts and o th er r e l a ­
tiv e s is rare.
Negro r e l a t iv e s are not so s u b je c t to the cen su re
o f t h e ir group fo r r ec o g n izin g the r e la t io n s h ip as are W hites by
th e ir group.
N e v e r th e le ss, th e White husband or w ife i s n ot o r d i­
n a r ily welcomed wholeheartedly by Negro r e l a t i v e s , and the Negro
he m arries may be o str a c iz e d as was t h is one by her r e l a t i v e s ;
. . . . My b ro th ers d id n 't approve o f i t but my fa th e r d id a l ­
te r a w h ile . I t was q u ite aw hile b efo re my fa th e r found out
who ray husband was. Then on some o c ca sio n I sa id [inf a l e t t e r ]
th a t he was E n g lish . He d id n 't li k e i t b u t he go t over i t .
The r e s t o f my
fo rsa k en me. Y es,
This b rother whose
y e a r s . She d id n 't
sta y a t my house. 1
fa m ily d o n 't approve o f i t y e t . They've
th ey o b je c te d because he was a White man.
w ife d ied w ould n't a ccep t me f o r e ig h te e n
want me. Ehe’ s been in Chicago b u t w ou ld n 't
A White woman t e l l s how her husband's Negro p a ren ts have
re fu se d to reco g n ize her or the c h ild r e n ;
His p aren ts w eren't f r ie n d ly and th a t has never been
b rid g ed . I t i s worse now than at. f i r s t . The o ld man thought
^Personal in te r v ie w .
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i t was a l l r i g h t , hut the o ld la d y p u t a atop to them coming
to see u s . That i s bred in them.
My f a t h e r - and m o th er-in -la w have y e t to do a th in g fo r
my c h ild r e n . They have y e t to send a b irth d a y card or p resen t
to my c h ild r e n and we w i l l be m arried tw enty-tw o y e a r s t h i s
January, My boy i s tw enty y ea rs o ld . That b rid g e h a s never
been moved. Ho m atter what you do you c a n 't change i t . When
I was younger I used to f r e t and c r y , but now I d o n 't worry.
My boy d o e s n 't want an yth in g to do w ith them, but th e g i r l i s
more f o r g iv in g ,^
In most c a s e s Negro r e l a t i v e s a ccep t th e White sp o u se, p er­
haps w ith some h e s ita n c y and r e s e r v e .
I f he or she i s a cce p ta b le
in oth er r e s p e c t s , the c o lo r d iffe r e n c e may be f o r g o tte n a s in t h i s
ca se r e la t e d by a Negro husband whose w ife I s W hite:
When I m arried my w ife my s i s t e r s d id n 't li k e i t a t f i r s t .
I took her home th e f i r s t Christmas and when they saw how t o l ­
era n t she was and what a lo v e ly p e r s o n a lity she had th ey
changed t h e ir mind. How th ey lo v e her very much b ecau se she
i s so broad-m inded.2
I n d ir e c t C ontrol through S o c ia l
P o s it io n of C hildren
A n e g a tiv e sa n ctio n which to many White p ersons appears to
be s u f f i c i e n t reason fo r p r o sc r ib in g Negro-White in term a rria g e i s
th e r u le th a t a l l c h ild r e n o f such m arriages are r e le g a te d to the
low er, or Negro, c a s te from w hich n e ith e r th ey nor th e ir d escen d ­
a n ts may r i s e .
This i s a p a in fu l blow and i s f e l t to be an in j u s ­
t i c e by many White p a ren ts o f such c h ild r e n .
Hegro p a r e n ts , o f
c o u rse, r e a l i z e th a t t h e ir c h ild r e n w i l l be denied f u l l p a r t ic ip a ­
t io n in the la r g e r community and may r e s e n t i t , but a White parent
i s o fte n l e s s prepared to a ccep t t h i s f a c t .
One White w ife s a id ,
“What h u rts i s th a t you fin d your c h ild c a n 't have the same b en ef i t s as you have,"'
Another White w ife remarked:
1,
P erso n a l in te r v ie w
3.
P erson u l in te r v ie w
2,
P erson al In terv iew
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77
The o ffs p r in g s u f f e r s . My boy i s a n ic e -lo o k in g b o y , smart
a s a whip . . . . b u t he c a n 't g e t anywhere. He should be ad­
m itted to any sch o o l he can measure up t o . He i s h eld back
by h is c o lo r .
The mixed c h ild f e e l s i t more. The h a rd est shock my c h i l ­
dren had was when th ey found ou t they were C olored. We never
wanted to t e l l th an . P eop le s a id th in g s to them and f i n a l l y
we had t o t e l l them and i t was a t e r r ib le sh o c k .*
A number o f White women w ith Negro husbands d id n o t regard
t h e ir c h ild r e n a s Negroes or C olored, b u t r e fe r r e d to them as mixed
or "Manasseh" c h ild r e n . '
O th ers, however, sa id th a t th ey d id n 't
want t h e ir o ffs p r in g to regard th em selves a s d if f e r e n t or b e t t e r .
than oth er Colored c h ild r e n .
The c h ild r e n o f mixed m arriages a r e ,
o f c o u r s e , Negroes to the community u n le s s th ey su cceed in p a ssin g
fo r W hite, and th ere i s a fe a r among many th a t N egroid t r a i t s w i l l
crop out in d escen d an ts o f a person who p a sse s and m arries in to
the White group.
The daughter o f an in term a rria g e who cou ld p a ss
as White s a id , " if you marry a White p erson you m ight be a fr a id
they w i l l f in d o u t.
Then th e c h ild r e n m ight turn ou t dark.
The c h ild o f a Negro-W hite m arriage cannot escape b ein g
c l a s s i f i e d as a Negro i f h is p h y s ic a l c h a r a c t e r is t ic s b etra y h is
Negro o r ig in or i f he l i v e s w ith Negro r e l a t i v e s .
I f a person
wants to p a ss as White In c e r t a in s it u a t io n s , he w i l l have to keep
Negro r e l a t i v e s ou t of the p ic t u r e .
The g i r l p r e v io u s ly quoted
was a b le to b rin g f r ie n d s from high s c h o o l, where she p assed as
W hite, to her home, b u t her Negro mother had to rem ain in the back­
ground.
In order to paBs perm anently in t o th e White group i t i s
■^Personal in te r v ie w .
2
Negro-White husbands and w ives are commonly c a lle d Manasseh co u p les and th e ir c h ild r e n Manasseh ch ild r o n by form er members
of the Manasaeh Club, composed o f such p e o p le , and by o th e r s .
3
P erson al in te r v ie w .
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78
n ecessa ry to g iv e up Negro f r ie n d s and r e l a t iv e s u n le s s th ey are
r e ta in e d by some su b terfu g e such a s p o sin g as se r v a n ts in th e
household*
That th e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n o f the c h ild r e n o f Negro-W hite
m arriages as Negroes s e r v e s as a stron g n e g a tiv e s a n c tio n i s i n d i­
cated by a White woman whose husband i s Negrot
No, 1 d id n 't have any c h ild r e n . I 'v e hated i t , and been
th an kfu l f o r i t to o . They s u f f e r . Here Mrs. P ie r c e 's c h ild r e n
can pass as W hite, b u t t h e y ' l l never be a b le to do it * I t ' s
the b ig g e s t th in g about in te r m a r r ia g e ~ th e c h ild r e n . They s u f ­
f e r and pay fo r your s i n s . T h a t's what happens to th e se c h i l ­
dren. They c a n 't p a ss as White because o f th e in - la w s . Y es,
Mr. P ierce can p a ss as W hite, but h is s i s t e r s c a n ' t . These
c h ild r e n w on't be ab le to g e t away from C olored because t h e ir
fa t h e r ’ s r e l a t iv e s show c o lo r and they w i l l want to v i s i t .
Suppose they do grow up and p ass as W hite. They w i l l alw ays
be a fr a id o f m eeting someone who knows who th ey a r e . T h e y 'll
h id e fo r the r e s t o f th e ir l i v e s .
I knew in term a rria g es w ith b e a u t if u l c h ild r e n . When th ey
are young i t i s a l l r ig fr t, but when th ey a re o ld e r th ey are
ashamed of how they tr e a te d th e ir p aren ts when they p a ssed as
W hite. That i s th e sad p art o f th o se m a rria g es. Here the
grandfather w on't s ta y in th e background. He t e l l s everybody
th a t th ese are h is g ra n d ch ild ren . He i n s i s t s on g oin g e v er y ­
where they g o . I t e l l him th a t he i s n ' t b ein g f a i r to h im se lf
when he does t h i s . l
The c h ild r e n o f Negro-W hite m arriages very seldom have n o r­
mal r e la t io n s h ip s w ith White r e l a t i v e s such as g ran d p aren ts, a u n ts,
u n c le s , c o u s in s , and the l i k e .
The p o s s i b i l i t y o f p a ssin g for White
does not e x i s t fo r the m ajority of th ese c h ild r e n , but i f th ey do
succeed in fin d in g a p la ce in the White group, they cannot cla im
r e la t io n s h ip to any o f th e ir White r e l a t i v e s ex ce p t in ra re in s t a n ­
c e s , fo r th e se r e l a t i v e s would probably expose them r a th er than
rec o g n ize the r e la t io n s h ip .
There are some e x c e p tio n s , but o rd in a ­
r i l y the c h ild o f a Negro-White in term a rria g e, r e g a r d le s s of h is
b io lo g ic a l f e a t u r e s , i s not reco g n ized by bin White r e l a t i v e s , and
^"Personal in te r v ie w .
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79
may be shunned by some o f h i s Negro r e l a t i v e s .
R e la tio n s w ith F rien d s, C liq u e s,
and A ss o c ia tio n s
Another s o c ia l p ressu re ex erted on person s who marry
a c r o ss the c a s te l i n e I s found in th e ir r e l a t io n s w ith f r ie n d s ,
c liq u e s , and a s s o c ia t io n s .
Interm arriage a f f e c t s th e se r e la t io n s
much the same as i t does th o se w ith t h e ir f a m ilie s and k in .
Un~
l e s s the m arriage i s kept s e c r e t th e fr ie n d s and acq u ain tan ces o f
th e White partner w i l l g e n e r a lly shun him or her co m p lete ly .
Should th ey exten d th e ir h o s p i t a lit y and fr ie n d s h ip to th e Hegro
spouse th ey would fa c e pow erful cen su re.
I t i s o r d in a r ily v ery d i f f i c u l t fo r the White partn er in
a Negro-W hite m arriage to secu re White f r ie n d s who have n o t con ­
tr a c te d s im ila r m arriages.
Such f r ie n d s h ip s are n e c e s s a r ily ham­
pered by th e d i f f i c u l t y or im p o s s ib ilit y o f in clu d in g the Negro
spouse where h is p resen ce m ight prove
to be em barrassing. In
number o f in s ta n c e s the White partn er
i s able to m aintain old
a
fr ie n d s h ip s or to secure new ones by c o n c e a lin g the m arriage or
the c o lo r o f th e spouse, but t h is in v o lv e s th e i n a b i l i t y to par­
t ic i p a t e w ith husband or w ife in many s it u a t io n s and the ever p r e s­
en t fe a r th a t the tr u th m ight be d isc o v e r e d .
A White man who has been m arried to h is Negro w ife the
g rea te r p a rt o f h is l i f e s a id t
I cou ld make f r ie n d s , b u t I'm a fr a id o f i t . I f th ey fin d
the other angle they drop you l i k e a hot c o a l and I th in k the
b e s t Is to p la y a lo n e hand.
. . . . Where I work none o f them know. I f they knew w hat, I
know h a lf of them wouldn’ t t a lk to me. They pone as f r ie n d s ,
b u t I f they found o u t who I was married to they would drop me
r ig h t away. When I q u it I ’m going to t e l l them.
When you marry one o f the oth er r a c e , you ’re o s t r a c is e d
from th e world and i f anybody t e l l s you d if f e r e n t , h e ’ s a l i a r .
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80
Your own fr ie n d c a n 't take you in h i s h o u se, and you c a n 't take
him in y o u r s. I d o n 't know one y e t . As lo n g a s th ey d o n 't
know you t h e y ' l l i n v i t e you fo r d in n e r ,1
A few White p a rtn ers in Negro-W hite m arriages do keep some
o f t h e ir o ld f r ie n d s , b u t th ey fin d i t alm ost im p o ssib le to remain
in White c liq u e s i f th e f a c t s con cernin g the m arriage are known.
In d iv id u a l f r ie n d s may a cce p t th e s it u a t io n but groups o f them
r a r e ly do.
The Negro who m arries a White person i s n ot so co m p letely
is o la t e d from Negro s o c ie t y a s i s the White spouse from h i s group.
He c o n tin u e s to l i v e in th e Negro community, w ith in which he has
most o f h is p erso n a l r e la t io n s h ip s .
He may lo s e some fr ie n d s and
be tr e a te d in d if f e r e n t ly by o th e r s , but he g e n e r a lly has l e s s d i f f i ­
c u lt y i n k eep in g friB n d s who know o f h is m arriage than does a White
person in the same p o s it io n .
Y e t, a few Negro spouses com plained
th a t some o f th e ir Negro f r ie n d s had r e fu s e d to have an ything to
do w ith them, and I was fr e q u e n tly to ld th a t the o b je c tio n came
from sou th ern ra th er than n orth ern N egroes.
One Negro w ife o f a
White man sa id :
. . . . You th in k you have f r ie n d s t i l l they fin d out who your
husband i s . You have f r ie n d ly en em ies. They have th a t f e e l i n g
a g a in s t i t and c a n 't g e t away from i t .
They know how the White
p eop le tr e a te d them and th e ir people in the South.
I firx l i t so hard to make fr ie n d s among my own p eo p le.
T heir husbands t e l l them n ot to come h e r e ."
When a White person marries a Negro he u s u a lly abandons
most o f h is o ld s o c ia l w orld .
Not o n ly i s he o s t r a c iz e d by r e l a ­
t i v e s and fr ie n d s , but he o fte n f in d s I t n ecessa ry to d isc o n tin u e
atten d an ce a t h is church, s o c i a l c lu b s , and other a s s o c ia t io n s to
which he may b elo n g .
1
A White member c e r t a in ly could n o t b rin g a
P erson al in te r v ie w .
2
P erson al In te rv iew .
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81
Negro w ife or husband to m eetings o f any b u t a few a s s o c ia t io n s
in C hicago.
The Negro spouse In Negro-W hite m arriages can u s u a lly
r e t a i n membership In h i s church and f r a t e r n a l a s s o c ia t io n s or c lu b s ,
w h ile a White person can seldom do so u n le s s he c o n c e a ls th e f a c t
o f h is m arriage to a Negro.
The White husband or w ife i s n ot r e a d ily accep ted in most
Negro grou p s, but a ntunber o f them j o in Negro churches and o th er
o r g a n iz a tio n s .
The White w ives a tte n d Negro churches more o fte n
than W hite, and th o se who a tten d White churches are n o t g e n e r a lly
th ere known to be m arried to N eg ro es.
P r a c t ic a lly none o f th e Ne­
gro sp ou ses accompany t h e ir White husbands or w ives to White
ch u rch es.
S o c ia l O stracism and H u m ilia tio n by
~
White and Negro Community
Both th e White and the Negro community e x e r c is e pow erful
s o c i a l sa n c tio n s a g a in s t Negro-?ftiite c o u p le s .
Both com m unities
more or l e s s o s t r a c iz e th o se who in term arry.
In e f f e c t , a White
p erson who v i o l a t e s the taboo on in term a rria g e lo s e s h i s s ta tu s
in the White group w ith o u t, in most c a s e s , g a in in g acceptan ce by
the Negro group.
A White person cannot become a member o f the
Negro c a s te u n le s s he can e s t a b lis h the f i c t i o n o f Negro a n c e s tr y ,
and w ith few e x c e p tio n s he i s regarded as an o u tc a s ts by Whites
whenever they know of the m arriage.
In freq u en tin g r e s ta u r a n ts , h o t e l s , dance h a l l s , and o th er
p u b lic p la c e s o f s e r v ic e or amusement, a Negro-W hite cou p le i s g en ­
e r a l ly r e s t r ic t e d
to the same e x le n t as i s a Negro co u p le.
Even
i f she i s n ot accompanied by her husband, a White woman may meet
w ith d isc r im in a tio n i f it. i s d isc o v e r e d th a t she i s m arried to a
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62
N egro.
Many exam ples such a s th e f o llo w in g , r e la t e d by White w iv e s ,
cou ld be g iv en s
I went t o ------ H o s p ita l. That’ s a Jim Crow h o s p it a l. I
was pregnant and sig n ed up th e r e . My mother was working and
cou ld n ’ t go w ith me so I asked a Negro fr ie n d o f my husband
who li v e d on th e South S id e to tak e me th e r e . He eame w ith
me to the h o s p it a l and the g i r l asked me, "Do you mean to say
th a t C olored f e llo w i s a fr ie n d of yours?" I s a id , "Sure he
i s . " Then i t dawned on her and she s a id , " Is your husband
Colored?" I s a id , "Yes," and she to r e up th e a p p lic a t io n ,!
My husband worked ou t o f town one whole summer when t h is
baby was l i t t l e . I d id n 't want to sta y here a lo n e and moved
to a White neighborhood. I moved to Oakwood B ou levard. I
stay ed th ere from th e time the baby was two months o ld t i l l
i t was e ig h t months o ld . A la d y knew my husband and t o ld and
they made me move from over th ere b ecau se he was C olored. You
c o u ld n 't t e l l my boy was Colored th e n .2
The stigm a a tta ch ed to th e White person who has married a
Negro remains a f t e r the C olored spouse d ie s or i s d iv o r c e d .
If a
White woman lo s e s her Negro husband she i s more l i k e l y to marry
another Negro than a White man i f she re m a r r ie s.
She has perma­
n e n tly g iv e n up normal r e la t io n s h ip s w ith the White group, in most
c a s e s , by m arrying a Negro.
I f she w ish es to reg a in s ta tu s in the
White s o c ie t y she must s u c c e s s f u lly c o n c e a l her m arriage.
T h is,
o f c o u r se , means th a t she may no lo n g er rec o g n ize her c h ild r e n and
oth er Negro r e l a t iv e s u n le s s they can pass fo r W hite.
A number o f
White w ives I in terv iew ed sa id th a t once you marry a Negro you are
in the Colored group fo r l i f e .
A White woman who has had two Negro
husbands ex p resses t h is view;
. . . . A fter I l e f t my f i r s t husband I worked and had two rooms
th at paid my r e n t. I w a ited t a b le . I liv e d in a Colored n e ig h ­
borhood because I knew everybody th e r e . I ' l l t e l l you one th in g .
I f you were m arried to a Colored man you c a n 't l i v e in a White
neighborhood w ith ou t s e e in g p eople who know you.
. . . . I w ouldn't ever marry a White man. I w ou ld n 't because
he would fin d ou t th a t I had been" married to a Colored man and
throw i t in my f a c e . That c o u ld n 't be kept s e c r e t because i f
P erson al in te r v ie w .
'P erso n a l in te r v ie w .
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83
1 would marry a man he would ask q u estio n s about what I had
done b efo re I m arried him and I w ouldn't l i e to anyone. Once
you marry a Colored man you are in th e Colored ra ce and c a n 't
g e t o u t.
A fter 1 l e f t my f i r s t husband I went to S e a t t le w ith th e
in t e n t io n o f m arrying or changing my l i f e and i t w o u ld n 't work.
1 was su rp rised t o fin d how many White and Colored p eop le were
th ere who knew I was m arried to a C olored m an.l
Another White woman who i s sep a ra ted from her Negro husband
s a id :
I f e e l th a t handicap now. Everybody knows th a t ray husband
was C olored. I w on 't say th a t i t has gone th a t f a r , but White
men have t o ld me th a t they w ould n't o b je c t to m arrying me b e­
cau se my husband was Colored but th ey wondered vtoat th e ir
fr ie n d s would th in k . I t would be b e t t e r fo r me i f I cou ld
le a v e t h is neighborhood b u t I am k ep t here by my p r o p e r ty .2
While a White p erso n who m arries a Negro i s more or l e s s
co m p letely o s t r a c iz e d by W hites and may f e e l th a t he or she i s in
th e Negro group b ecau se o f r e sid e n c e and some p a r t ic ip a t io n in the
l i f e o f the Negro community he i s seldom r e a l l y a ccep ted by them.
One o f the most noted o f Negro sc h o la r s and a u th o rs, W. E. B. Du
B o is , sa y s in a ch ap ter on "The Interm arriage o f the Races" in one
of h i s e a r l ie r works;
. . . . The average N egro, d e s p ite h is th eo ry , h im s e lf m arries
one of h is r a c e , and frow ns d arkly on h is f e llo w s u n le s s they
do lik e w is e . In th o se v ery c i r c l e s o f Negroes who have a la r g e
in fu s io n o f w h ite b lo o d , where the freedom o f m arriage i s most
stren u o u sly a d v o ca ted , w h ite w ives have always been tr e a te d
w ith a d is d a in b ord erin g on I n s u lt , and w hite husbands never
r e c e iv e d on any terms o f s o c i a l r e c o g n itio n .
. . . . I t i s c e r t a in ly a s t r a in on a f f e c t i o n s to have to en­
dure not sim ply th e o str a c ism o f the w h ites but o f the b la ck s
a l s o . Undoubtedly t h i s l a t t e r a c t s a s a more p r a c t ic a l d e te r ­
re n t than the f i r s t . F o r, w h ile a Negro ex p ects to be o s t r a ­
c iz e d by th e w h ite s , and h i s w ife a g rees to i t by her marriage
vow, n e ith e r o f them are q u ite prepared fo r the co ld r e c e p tio n
they in v a r ia b ly meet w ith among the N eg ro es.0
^-Personal in te r v ie w .
^Personal In te rv iew ,
\ h e P h ila d e lp h ia Negro; A S o c ia l Study ( P h ila d e lp h ia , 1 8 9 9 ),
pp. 359, 366.
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64
There a r e many in d ic a t io n s th a t Negroes in d if f e r e n t s e g ­
ments of the Negro s o c ie t y are su b je c te d to varying d eg rees o f r e p ­
r o b a tio n and o stra cism I f they marry W h ites, and th a t th e s e v e r e s t
cen su re i s g e n e r a lly in the group o f h ig h e s t s o c ia l rank*
A num­
ber o f Negro p r o f e s s io n a l men to ld me th a t I n t e r r a c ia l c o u p le s are
o s t r a c is e d by t h e ir group and do n o t r e c e iv e i n v it a t i o n s to th e
a f f a i r s o f th e u p p e r -c la s s Negro c lu b s and f r a t e r n i t i e s .
One or
two e x c e p tio n s , however, were m entioned and i t was remarked th a t
In th e s e c a s e s th ere was no doubt about th e e x c e l l e n t s o c i a l back ­
ground o f th e White sp o u se.
I t i s a t l e a s t p o s s ib le f o r a Negro-W hite cou p le to g a in
accep tan ce in Negro c i r c l e s w h ile i t i s v i r t u a l l y im p o ssib le in
th e V/hite s o c ie t y , ex ce p t in a few r e l i g i o u s and r a d ic a l grou p s.
A number o f White husbands and w iv es o f N egroes s a id th a t th ey no­
t ic e d l i t t l e or no f e e l i n g a g a in s t them in th e Negro group.
Some
d id , in d eed , appear t o be f a i r l y w e ll in te g r a te d in th e Negro com­
m unity.
Bore o f t e n they were m erely to le r a te d or were o s t r a c iz e d
by most o f t h e ir Negro n eig h b o rs and a s s o c i a t e s .
I t would seem on the b a s is o f the testim o n y o f r e p r e se n ta ­
t i v e Negroes a s w e ll a3 of I n t e r r a c ia l co u p les th a t b oth Negroes
and W hites who have in term a rried are g e n e r a lly regarded w ith d i s ­
d ain by the Negro group.
A l i g h t Negro woman o f h igh s o c i a l p o s i­
tio n in a community o f th ree or four thousand Negroes in which r e ­
s id e a t l e a s t a dozen White women w ith Negro husbands, s a id o f such
co u p les:
They are more or l e s s o s tr a c iz e d by b oth grou p s. We se e
them and know them b u t they are l o t a lo n e s o c i a l l y . That a c ­
counts f o r why I d o n 't know a s many a s you might ex p e c t me t o .
They have some f r ie n d s but I d o n 't fin d them en jo y in g th e
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85
800l a l s t a t u s th a t th e u su a l neighbor e n jo y s. I t seems to be
a s it u a t io n th a t n e ith e r s o c i a l group e n jo y s , I suppose th a t
Mrs. Temple who has liv e d in the community fo r many y ea rs has
been a b le to make more f r ie n d s than most o f th em .l
One o f the White women m arried t o Negro men in t h i s com­
munity sa id j
. . . . I f a Colored woman would come h ere and be f r ie n d ly
w ith me* do you know what would happen? She would be asked
by th e o th er Colored women, "Why are you g e t t in g so chummy
w ith th a t White woman? Why d o n 't you sta y w ith your own race?"
They d o n 't li k e i t , th a t I am m arried to a Colored man. One
woman t o ld me a C olored woman out here had su g g ested th a t th ey
have n oth in g to do w ith the White women w ith Colored husbands.
She s a id th a t so many were coming here that, i t was t e r r i b l e .
She thought th a t the Colored women could f r e e z e u 1 out by n o t
ta lk in g t o u s . A ll t h i s g e ts to me and I know how th ey f e e l .
I w ent to a Colored p la ce once, years ago. I bought a
t ic k e t from a Colored man. The o rch estra was p la y in g and I
was dancing w ith a Colored man. They stopped the music and
s a id they w ouldn't s t a r t a gain u n t i l the White women were o f f
the f l o o r . The Colored p eo p le d id n 't want me th e r e . I am
very s e n s i t iv e and I made up my mind th a t I d id n 't want to
push m yself forward where I w a sn 't wanted. There were two or
th ree o th er White women th ere but I d o n 't know i f th ey were
m arried to Colored men or j u s t out w ith them....................*
A number o f th e p erson s I in terv iew ed sa id th a t th ey had
ex p erien ced d i f f i c u l t y in fin d in g an apartment which they could
r e n t even in the Negro community b ecau se o f the f e e l in g a g a in s t
In term a rria g e.
The White woman quoted above sa id :
You d o n 't know how hard i t i s fo r an in t e r r a c ia l co u p le to
r e n t a p la c e . U su a lly th ey j u s t say th at the p la ce i s alrea d y
r e n te d . One re n tin g agency comes r ig h t ou t and sa y s th a t i t
w on't r e n t to mixed c o u p le s . We were refused^by C olored la n d ­
lo r d s because we were a mixed c o u p le. . . .
On the w hole, a Negro-W hite couple i s a b le to secu re s e r v ­
i c e s in s t o r e s and o th er p la c e s which d o not d is c r im in a te a g a in s t
N egroes, but o c c a s io n a lly they may even be barred In the Negro
a rea .
A young White woman whose husband i s a dark Negro to ld o f
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P erson al in te r v ie w .
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Personal In te r v ie w .
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th e fo llo w in g ex p erien ces:
There have been two o c c a sio n s in th e Black B e lt where my
husband and I have been Jim Crowed. We have been in l i v in g
q u a r te r s, b u t tw ice we have been Jim Crowed in s t o r e s . I
don’ t understand t h a t .
L a st Sunday n ig h t my husband and I went t o .t h e drug s to r e
on 55th [ s t r e e t ] . . . . S ev era l p eop le went in and out an£
the p la c e was n o t crowded. Then I saw th a t th ere w a sn 't any­
body who w a sn 't w aited on e x ce p t u s . There were two fe llo w s
behind the soda fo u n ta in . One fe llo w began to e a t h i s lunch
and the oth er p o lis h e d the co u n ter. We w aited t h i r t y - f i v e
m inutes and the pharm acist watched us go ou t. He knew we
w e r e n 't w a ited on or he would have asked u s fo r our check.
Another o cca sio n was a t the - —— Shoe Store on 4 7th S tr e e t
. . . . My husband and I went th ere to g e t sh o e s. They have
Negro c le r k s . We s a t on the s e a t s and the salesm en ta lk ed to
each o th e r . Another custom er came and they w aited on h er.
Then th ey began to t a lk a gain w ith o u t paying a t t e n t io n to u s .
V.'e walked out and th ey h eld the door fo r us to go o u t .l
The s e v e r it y o f the p en a lty o f s o c ia l o stra cism , from th e
Negro as w e ll a s th e White group, to which persons who v io l a t e the
taboo on in term arriage are su b jected i s shown in the remarks of
one of my White women in form an ts;
. . . . I th in k th a t an in t e r r a c ia l has a hard l i f e to l i v e .
They are shunned everywhere they go by White and Colored b o th .
T hey're j u s t li k e a d isca rd ed r a c e . I know b ecau se I 'v e liv e d
w ith th e Colored lo n g er than with the W hite, I 'v e been married
tw e n ty -fiv e y ea rs and I was twenty-two when I m arried. The b e s t
p a rt o f my l i f e has been spent w ith C olored. . . . .
. . . . The Colored don’ t want you and the Whites w on't have
you a t a l l . . . . . I w o u ld n 't a d v ise no White woman to marry
a Colored man b ecau se of the h ard ships t.bey have to go through.
I'm n o t g oin g to l i e qbout i t because i t i s t r u e .2
; R id ic u le , or the s a t i r i c a l sa n c tio n , i s one o f the most
pow erful f o r c e s o f s o c ia l c o n tr o l in modern c i v i l i z a t i o n as in
p r im itiv e s o c ie t y .
Not only i s p r e s tig e w ith h eld from Negroes and
W hites who in term arry, but they are su b jected to r i d i c u l e , h u m ilia ­
t io n , and p e tty annoyances of v ariou s s o r t s .
Negroes a s w e ll as
W hites tend to regard White women, in p a r tic u la r , as o f low ch arac­
te r i f they v io l a t e the in term a rria g e taboo, and do n ot h e s it a t e
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P erson al in te r v ie w .
Personal in te r v ie w .
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t o l e t them know i t .
One VJhite woman m arried to a Negro remarked:
Ife’ B a w fu lly hard fo r a White woman to l i v e in a Colored
neighborhood. Colored men have the im p ression th a t i f she
oould she would have them a l l . They f l i r t and b other me so
th a t I ’m' a fr a id to go on the s t r e e t . I have to sta y in the
house a l l th e tim e. I wouldn’ t go ou t a f t e r s i x o 'c lo c k , I
d o n 't th in k , i f the house caught f i r e . 1
Whonever a Negro-Wiiite cou p le or a White mother w ith her
C olored c h ild appear in p u b lic they are lilc e ly to be sta r e d a t and
may be su b jec ted to h u m ilia tin g rem arks.
The fo llo w in g sta tem en ts
by Negro husbands w ith White w ives I l l u s t r a t e the s it u a t io n :
_It would b e a good th in g i f you cou ld be an i n v i s i b l e man
and se e me and my w ife when we go o u t. P eople turn around to
lo o k a t u s . 1 d o n 't th in k a man should marry out o f h is ra ce
u n le s s he has a l o t o f i n t e s t i n a l f o r t it u d e . Everybody w ould n't
be a b le to do i t because of the d isa p p ro v a l o f o th e r s .
I very seldom go to a movie but my w ife l i k e s t o . I g iv e
my w ife money to go to th e show once in a w h ile .
I f I go to
th e show w ith h e r , then we are sta red a t, and i f she goes a lo n e ,
she i s f l i r t e d w ith .^
. . . . The o th er day we went down town to a show. A man in
another car k ep t p a ssin g u s up and l e t t i n g us p ass him up
a g a in . As he went by he sta red a t u s and d id n o t even watch
th e t r a f f i c on th e road, f i n a l l y he had a good look and drove
on. Sometimes I go on the s t r e e t c a r w ith ray w if e . She e n te r s
and I pay th e car fa r e and f o llo w her in . As we walk down the
a i s l e , p eop le turn around and s t a r e at u s . I g e n e r a lly have a
newspaper and read i t w ith o u t paying any a t t e n t io n to the peo­
p le .3
’Vhen we go to the park—my w if e , c h ild r e n , and I —and my
c h ild r e n are b e a u t if u l, i f I do say so m y se lf—p eople sto p and
s ta r e a t u s . Sometimes they oven come r i g h t to u s and look
in our f a c e s . 4
The h u m ilia tin g e f f e c t o f th e s ta r e s and remurks d ir e c te d
tov/ard Negro-W hite co u p les when they appear to g eth er on the s t r e e t
or in p u b lic conveyances i s s u f f i c i e n t to cause the more s e n s i t iv e
o f them to withdraw from s it u a t io n s In which they might be embar­
ra ssed .
O th ers, however, pretend n ot to n o tic e th ese g e s tu r e s and
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P erson al in te r v ie w .
P erso n a l In te r v ie w .
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P erson al in te r v ie w .
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remarks*
One o f the White w ives commented}
. . . . Some co u p les d o n 't go o u t to g e th e r .
I f th ey go any­
where th e woman g e t s on th e s t r e e t c a r f i r s t
and s i t s downand
th e husband stan d s on the rea r p la tfo rm . I d o n 't s e e how they
can a c t th a t way i f they lo v e each o t h e r .*■
A fo r e ig n -b o r n White woman who f e l t the s o c ia l p ressu re
more than o th e r s because she d id n o t know the American a t t it u d e
a t the time she m arried her Negro husband, remarked*
I f my husband was making $5 0 ,0 0 0 a y ea r and had a t r u s t
fund so th at I d id n 't have to worry about a jo b , i t w ould n't
make th in gs any d if f e r e n t . I t would s t i l l be too much. I f
peop le s ta r e at me I t would s t i l l make my fa c e red . I f they
say th in g s i t would s t i l l make me mad. I would be a fr a id peo­
p le I knew b e fo re I m arried would se e m e.2
Attempts to h u m ilia te th ose who have m arried a c r o s s th e
c a s te l i n e are n o t con fin ed to a c tio n s by stra n g ers in p u b lic p la ­
ces.
One inform ant to ld me o f th e ex p erien ce o f a woman sh e knew
who t r ie d to co n cea l the id e n t it y o f her husband w hile she was in
the h o s p ita l:
. . . . 7/hen her husband came, she pretended th a t he w a sn 't
h er husband and s a id , "My husband sen t him to come fo r him."
That was so f o o l i s h , F in a lly th ey found out th a t he was her
husband. Then they asked h e r , "Bo your p aren ts know th a t you
have married a Negro?" The answer w a s, th a t her p a ren ts were
dead. Then they s a id , "Your p aren ts w i l l turn over in th e ir
grave i f th ey knew about t h i s , wouldn’ t they?"
T his woman had h ea rt tr o u b le and c r ie d a l l n ig h t when they
sa id th is .®
The s a t i r i c a l sa n c tio n i s a p p lied by Negroes as w e ll a s by
W hites to members o f th e ir group who v io la t e the taboo on Interm ar­
r ia g e .
The very dark Negro w ife of a fo r e ig n White man some t h ir t y
y ea rs her se n io r remarked*
We went on H a lsted S tr e e t Wednesday. There were a l l White
p eop le th e r e . They a l l nudged each oth er when th ey saw u s .
I sa id to my husband th a t I was sorry fo r him. He s a id , "Don't
pay any a t t e n t io n to them."
P erson al in te r v ie w .
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P erson al in te r v ie w .
'P erso n a l in te r v ie w .
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89
The Colored p eo p le come o u t of t h e ir houses to lo o k a t u s
when we go o u t.
P eople are alw ays lo o k in g in h ere.
[Negro] C hildren come
in here to see the Colored woman w ith the White husband. My
son says th a t they a r e n 't to blame because they hear th e ir
p aren ts ta lk in g about i t .
Sometimes I want to q u it him because o f the way p eople
t r e a t me. Every time I go out I hear people sa y , "There she
g o es" — "That’ s h er" — "There sh e i s . " l
One o f the v a r io u s typ es o f h u m ilia tin g e x p erien ces to
w hich Negro-White co u p les are freq u e n tly su b jected i s th a t o f b e ­
in g stopped on the s t r e e t and q u estion ed by p olicem en .
In sta n ces
were c it e d in ch ap ter v o f such ex p erien ces b efo re m arriage.
Mar­
r ie d I n te r r a c ia l co u p les are s im ila r ly stop p ed , o s t e n s ib ly to d i s ­
cover whether the woman i s a p r o s t it u t e or i f the couple are en ­
gaged in some s o r t o f i l l e g a l a c t i v i t y , but fr e q u e n tly to annoy
them.
Negro men w ith Colored w ives who can pass as White have been
stopped in s im ila r circu m sta n ces.
A Negro policem an sa id th a t
th ey don’ t have to g iv e them o rd ers. They stop them because
they h ate to s e e them to g e th e r ..................
They may sto p them and q u estio n them. They may go so fa r
as to put them in j a i l . Anything to embarrass them. They
h ardly ever make any charge a g a in s t them.^
The White w ife of the man quoted above t e l l s o f the in d ig ­
n i t i e s which may occur;
A woman I know was coming from the s to r e w ith her Colored
husband. Two Colored policem en came and asked her husband what
he was doing w ith th a t V/hlte woman. He s a id , "That’ s my w ife ."
They wore married sev en teen y ea rc .
The policem en pushed them around and sep arated them. They
probably wanted to compare t h e ir s t o r ie s to s e e i f they were
the sam e.3
^"Personal in te r v ie w .
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"Personal In terv iew .
JJ
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T hreats to S e c u r ity
Another pow erful form o f sa n c tio n which I s Invoked a g a in s t
person s who have v io la t e d th e r u le o f c a s t e endogamy f a l l s under
th e heading of th r e a ts to s e c u r it y .
These In clu d e b o d ily harm as
w e ll as d e p r iv a tio n or li m it a t io n o f means o f secu rin g a l i v e l i ­
hood.
Even though th ere has been no v io la t io n of the law , p o lic e
in t e r fe r e n c e may be more than a p e tty annoyance and cau se ta n g ib le
l o s s to th e Negro-W hite c o u p le.
One cou p le to ld o f b ein g a r r e ste d
on th e charge o f h aving a d is o r d e r ly h ou se, alth ou gh i t w a sn 't
su ch , and then being h eld in j a i l fo r ten days a f t e r the c a se was
d is m is s e d , w h ile b lood t e s t s were a d m in istered , during which tim e
th e ir fu r n itu r e was moved from th e ir apartm ent which was ren ted
to someone e l s e .
A White woman who had in term a rried sa id :
We were never stopped. Why, 1 d o n 't know. I th in k i t was
b ecau se we were in a machine most o f the tim e. I t probably
would have been d if f e r e n t i f we w alked. I have heard o f p o lic e
a r r e s t in g mixed cou p les and even breaking th e f u r n it u r e .1
W hile Negro-W hite cou p les may meet w ith h o s t i l i t y when th ey
appear in p u b lic , they are seldom su b jec ted to a c tu a l p h y s ic a l v i o ­
le n c e .
O c ca sio n a lly a couple i s th reaten ed by a gang o f b o y s, but
they g e n e r a lly a v o id neighborhoods where t h is might occu r.
A fo r­
eign -b orn White woman who had l e f t her Negro husband and moved in ­
to a f l a t w ith her aunt in a White neighborhood g iv e s an account
which shows the p o s s i b i l i t y of v io le n c e ;
. . . . On the day o f my b irth d a y I wanted my boy w ith me to
make ray h ap p in ess com p lete. I brought him home about ten in
the morning. F i r s t of a l l he wanted a l l the Sunday papers and
I gave him th e money. Next door they kept the papers. When
he came back he says everyone there lo o k a t him so hard.
Not more than hour la t e r the man who owned the house came
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91
o v e r . He Just s ta r e a t ray b oy. The n e x t day g oin g to work I
n o t ic e p eo p le on th e s t r e e t lo o k in g , s t a r in g a t me. I began
to f e e l funny and my f i r s t thought was of ray boy. They must
n o t l i k e him. I hope th ey w on't hurt him. As soon a s I g o t
t o work 1 c a l l back and t o ld my aunt n o t to l e t th e boy p la y
on the s t r e e t . But she sa y s 1 b e t t e r come home as soon as
p o s s ib le b ecau se a crowd o f p eople was around the house sa y in g
th ey d o n 't want no n ig g er i n t h e ir neighborhood. They th rea ten
to break the windows and burn th e f u r n itu r e .
X d id n 't know what to do. F in a lly I g o t another g i r l to
take my p la ce and rushed home. A number o f to u g h -lo o k in g men
were s i t t i n g on th e sid ew alk and s t e p s . The la n d lo rd h im s e lf
was on the porciu J u s t a s I g o t i n he fo llo w e d me and t o ld ms
to move a t on ce................... 1
A very r e a l th r e a t t o the s e c u r ity o f a Negro-W hite cou p le
i s th a t o f lo s s of employment i f t h e ir m arriage becomes known.
A
number of persons I in terv iew ed had l o s t s e v e r a l job s because
th e ir in term arriage had been d is c o v e r e d , and o th ers were apprehen­
s iv e l e s t t h is should happen to them.
A la r g e number, i f n o t a
m a jo r ity , o f em ployers would d isch a rg e any o f th e ir em ployees found
to have v io la t e d the taboo on in term a r ria g e.
I t i s probable th a t
White spouses are more s u b je c t than Negroes to t h is sa n c tio n b e ­
cau se g r e a te r stigm a i s a tta ch ed to a White than to a Negro who
in te r m a r r ie s .
Then, to o , as Negroes are lim it e d in o ccu p a tio n a l
c h o ic e i t might appear incongruous to the employer fo r a White p er­
son m arried to a Negro to hold a job which a Negro could n o t s e ­
cure.
Negro women probably are l e a s t l i k e l y to lo s e a job because
o f m arriage a cross the c a s t e l i n e .
No in s ta n c e s o f t h is s o r t came
to my a t t e n t io n and we need n o t be concerned about i t , f o r very
few of the Negro w iv es of White men worked o u ts id e th e home.
A few of th e Negro men I in terv iew ed had l o s t t h e ir Jobs
when the f a c t s o f th e ir m arriage were d is c o v e r e d , and th ere i s no
^"Personal in te r v ie w .
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92
doubt th a t many of th e o th ers are th rea ten ed w ith the same p o s s i­
b ility .
Some were u n certa in a s to what would happen i f t h e ir em­
p lo y er-fo u n d o u t, b u t in a number o f o a se s Negro men were known,
a t th e ir p la ce o f work, to have White w ives and i t made no appar­
e n t d if f e r e n c e .
White husbands w ith Negro w iv es g e n e r a lly f in d i t d i f f i ­
c u l t to keep a job i f knowledge o f th e in term arriage g e ts about.
I t i s in t e r e s t in g to n o te, in t h is c o n n e c tio n , th a t o f t h i r t y - s i x
W hite men w ith Negro wives whose o c cu p a tio n a l s ta tu s was a s c e r ­
ta in e d , o n ly e ig h t were employed by p r iv a te e s ta b lis h m e n ts , two
had government Jobs and two were on W .P.A.; tw elv e had t h e ir own
b u sin e ss esta b lish m en ts or worked f o r th em selves; and tw elv e were
r e t i r e d or unemployed.
I t i s p o s s ib le th a t the d i f f i c u l t y o f keep­
in g a job i f i t was d isco v ere d th a t the w ife was Negro cau sed some
of th e se White men to c r e a te th e ir own work which ranged from sewer
c le a n in g and f r u i t - and v e g e ta b le -p e d d lin g to ownership o f a r e a l
e s t a t e company.
A f a i r l y la r g e number o f th e White women m arried t o Negroes
were employed a t some time a f t e r they were married*
They found i t
more d i f f i c u l t than did any o f the o th ers to keep a job i f i t was
d isc o v e r e d th a t th e husband was a N egro.
S ev era l o f th e se women
s a id th a t i t was Im possib le fo r them t o h old a job i f t h e ir employer
or oth er em ployees learn ed th a t th ey had married a Negro or liv e d
in a Colored neighborhood.
The woman who had l e f t her husband and
was fo r c e d to le a v e h er home in a White neighborhood when her C ol­
ored son was seen , l o s t her job th e n ext week b eca u se, she b e li e v e s ,
th e man she had ren ted from rep orted what he knew about her boy.
She l o s t s e v e r a l job s a f t e r she retu rn ed to the Negro area when her
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93
c o r r e c t ad d ress or her husband’ s c o lo r was d is c o v e r e d .
As In so many s i t u a t i o n s , the person who has v io la t e d th e
in term a rria g e taboo must g iv e f a l s e in form ation and h id e h is "other
l i f e ” i f he i s
to keep h is jo b .
Even i f he i s n ' t sure th a t d i s ­
covery o f th e m arriage would mean the lo s s o f h is jo b , i t i s b e s t
to take no chances in t h is reg a rd .
A White woman m arried to a He-
gro t e l l s o f the d i f f i c u l t i e s p erson s li k e h e r s e lf have in k eep in g
t h e ir jobs*
. . . . I had a f in e job downtown which I had had ele v e n y e a r s .
Then I had to. have an o p era tio n and I d id n 't know what to t e l l
them b eca u se I c o u ld n 't g iv e my a d d ress. I c o u ld n 't l e t them
know th a t I liv e d out heije, I sa id I was o u t of town, I
thought th a t was the b e st th in g to sa y , When I d id n ’ t come to
work they t r ie d to lo c a te me. A fter a l l th o se y ea rs we had
worked to g e th e r the g i r l s wanted to v i s i t me when I was s ic k ,
I c o u ld n 't l e t them come to the h o s p it a l becau se they might
have seen my husband th ere. I had g iv e n the ad d ress o f an o ld
woman and th ey c a lle d h er. She fo r g o t what I t o ld her to say
when somebody asked fo r me and I l o s t ray Job,
I t i s a t e r r ib le problem w ith work. I t i s so hard f o r a
White woman m arried to a C olored man to hold a jo b . I 'v e sa id
in term a rria g e i s a l l r ig h t i f your husband can support you so
you d o n 't have to work.
I t i s hard because th ey c a n 't t e l l where they l i v e and have to
s ta y in th e background. That was my tr o u b le . I never gave ray
r ig h t a d d r e ss. Once I had a job and to ld my right, address and
i t w a sn 't long and they l e t me o u t. They d id n 't say why they
f i r e d me....................1
Another White woman who knows th a t both she and her Hegro
husband would lo s e th e ir jobs i f th e ir em ployers lea rn ed o f th e ir
m arriage s a id :
I was w ith him [th e husband] from May to August when he was
s ic k . I c o u ld n 't l e t i t be known th at I waB h is w if e , I was
supposed to be in M ichigan. I had to w rite l e t t e r s and send
them to the o f f i c e where I worked, from M ichigan. I had to be
c a r e f u l th a t nobody from th e o f f i c e saw me w h ile I was supposed
t o be away. I had to s te p about the house b ecau se people from
h is [r a ilr o a d ] li n e came to v i s i t him. I had a Colored woman
here and went Into the k itc h e n when v i s i t o r s came.
We have to be c a r e fu l because w e're buying our home and
■^Personal in te r v ie w .
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94
c a n 't a ffo r d to lo s e our jobs* I f we had enough money to be
Independent we wouldn’ t ca re who knew we were m arried....................1
In some in s ta n c e s when i t i s d isc o v e r e d th a t an employee
has In term arried he i s not f ir e d but i s p u rp osely g iv e n more d i f f i ­
c u lt or u n p leasan t work to do.
The a t t it u d e o f oth er em ployees
may fo r c e him to le a v e th e jo b , as in the ca se o f one g i r l who sa id
th a t she q u it a f t e r the g i r l s who worked w ith her lea rn ed o f h er
m arriage, because they w ouldn't t a lk or e a t w ith h er.
In o th er c a se s th e in t e r r a c ia l m arriage i s a handicap to
o ccu p a tio n a l advancement or In crea se in b u s in e s s .
Negro p r o f e s ­
s io n a l men are l i k e l y to have fewer c l i e n t s i f they marry a White
woman.
A Negro b u sin e ss man sa id o f a d o cto r he knew whose w ife
was W hite;
. . . . He has a good b u sin e ss now b u t i t would have been 100
per c e n t b e t t e r i f i t hadn’ t been fo r h i s m arriage. And h is
w ife i s a f in e woman, to o ...................
You know th a t th e government i s making a study o f s o c ia l
d is e a s e s h e r e . D octor Andrews i s the b e s t man they co u ld g e t
f o r th a t . T h a t'8 what he s p e c ia liz e d in . . . . But th e p eo­
p le out here d id n 't recommend him because th ey o b je c te d to h is
w ife b ecause she i s W hite, and another d octor was s e le c t e d .^
Summary o f N egative S a n ctio n s
We have seen th a t a number o f unorganized n e g a tiv e san c­
t io n s serv e as s o c ia l c o n tr o ls which d e te r in d iv id u a ls from con ­
t r a c tin g in te r m a r r ia g e s.
A pow erful c o n tr o l i s the s o c ia l p ressu re
e x e r te d through the p aren ts and r e l a t i v e s o f Negroes and 'whites who
in term a rry .
The stigm a a tta ch ed to Negro-Yihite m arriage i s so
g r e a t th a t the fa m ily of the White partner i s s o r io u s ly d is g r a c e d .
Negro and ’w h ite sp o u ses, but e s p e c ia lly the l a t t e r , are c u t o f f
Diore or l e s s com p letely from s o c ia l r e la t io n s h ip s w ith th e ir par­
e n ts and k in .
The r u le th a t a l l c h ild r e n o f Negro-W hite m arriages
2
'
P erson al in te r v ie w .
P erson al in te r v ie w .
1
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./
95
and t h e ir descendants are members of th e su bordinate Negro c a s te
13 a n e g a tiv e sa n ctio n e s p e c ia l ly f e l t by th e White parent*
F riends and a s s o c ia t e s
termarry u s u a lly
o f b o th Negroes and W hites who In ­
oppose the m arriage i f they le a r n o f i t and f r e ­
q u en tly o s tr a c iz e the o ffe n d e r ,
White men and women who marry Ne­
groes may be cu t o ff from t h e ir o ld f r ie n d s and c liq u e s and fin d
i t d i f f i c u l t to rep la o e them.
Both the White and Negro com m unities
s u b je c t in t e r r a c ia l c o u p le s to rep ro b a tio n and o str a c ism and to
r id ic u le * h u m ilia tio n , and annoyances of variou s s o r t s .
F in a lly , we found th a t th ere were th r e a ts to the s e c u r ity
o f the Negro-White fa m ily .
There may be some danger o f p h y s ic a l
v io le n c e , but more im portant are the economic s a n c tio n s which
th r e a te n Negro and White men and t h e ir working w iv e s .
I t i s e sp e ­
c i a l l y d i f f i c u l t fo r Y/hite men and women to secure employment or
h old a job i f i t
i s known th a t they are married to N egroes.
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CHAPTER V I I
CONCIiUSION
This stud y o f Negro-White Interm arriage has been gu ided
by the h y p o th e sis th a t the Negro and White s o c ia l groups might
c o n s t it u t e c a s t e s In the North as w e ll a s In the South, and th a t
an exam ination o f c a s e s of v io la t io n o f the r u le o f endogamy would
be a t e s t o f t h is assum ption.
P ro fe sso r W. L. Warner, A llis o n
D a v is, John D o lla r d , B u e ll 0 . G a lla g h er, and oth er stu d en ts o f the
su b je c t speak o f a c a s te system In th e southern s e c t io n o f th e
U n ited S t a t e s , c h a r a c te r iz e d by th e d if f e r e n t i a t io n o f a su p ero rd i­
n a te and a subordinate s o c ia l group on the b a s is o f b io lo g i c a l f e a ­
tu r e s and d e sc e n t; and w ith an unequal d is t r ib u t io n o f p r iv ile g e
and o p p o rtu n ity , stro n g s o c ia l d is t a n c e , endogamy, and absence o f
s o c ia l m o b ility between them.
A ll members o f the lo w er, or Negro,
c a s te cannot be d if f e r e n t ia t e d from members o f the upper, or V/hite,
c a s te on the b a s is of b io lo g i c a l f e a tu r e s b ecau se d escen d an ts of
i l l i c i t unions between Negroes and Y/hites are members o f the lower
c a s te r e g a r d le s s o f t h e ir f e a t u r e s .
We have found th a t Negroes and W hites, s o c i a l l y d efin ed '
in the same way, c o n s t it u t e f ix e d h ered ita r y groups o f in f e r io r
and su p erior rank in the North a s w e ll a s in the South, and th a t
th ere i s d e f in it e in e q u a lity of p r iv ile g e and op p ortu n ity which
d i f f e r s somewhat in type and in t e n s it y from th a t of the South.
I have attem pted to p resen t a p ic tu r e o f Negro-W hite r e l a ­
t io n s and In term arriage in C hicago, which probably i s r e p r e se n ts 96
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97
t i v e o f o th er northern c i t i e s .
The Negroes are a subordinated
group in C hicago, lim ite d in o ccu p a tio n a l and o th er o p p o r tu n itie s
and barred from r esid en ce in , and p a r t ic ip a t io n in th e s o c ia l l i f e
o f , th e White community.
I f th e dominant group i s to m aintain
t h i s s o c i a l system , m arriages between N egroes and "Whites must be
kept a t a minimum.
Marriage i s fr e q u e n tly a ladder to s o c i a l mo­
b i l i t y , and I f W hites were f r e e l y p erm itted to marry N egroes th ey
would demand s o c i a l e q u a lity f o r t h e ir sp ouses and c h ild r e n .
One o f the b a s ic f e a tu r e s of a c a s te system , and p a r tic u ­
la r l y s t r e s s e d In the sou thern s e c tio n o f the U nited S t a t e s , i s
th e s t r i c t enforcem ent o f endogamy and th e absence o f mechanisms
which a llo w members o f the low er group to r i s e in t o the upper or
members o f the upper to f a l l in to the low er group.
In order to
p reven t m arriage a cro ss th e c a s te l i n e , th ere must be g r e a t s o c ia l
d is ta n c e between th e c a s t e s , and stro n g s o c ia l c o n tr o l must be
m a in ta in ed .1
S o c ie ty does p rovid e' a s t r i c t s e t o f s o c ia l sa n c tio n s and
c o n tr o ls which m aintain s o c ia l d is ta n c e and p reven t in term a rria g e
o f Negroes and W hites In C hicago.
These c o n tr o ls are n o t supported
by laws se p a r a tin g the two c a s t e s and p r o h ib itin g in term a rria g e as
In th e South, but alm ost com plete con form ity to th e r u le o f endog­
amy i s o b ta in ed .
There i s stro n g o p p o sitio n to in term a rria g e and
1In t h i s co n n ectio n , Rcmanzo Adams w r ite s ( op. c l t . , p . 4 5 ):
" If s o c ie t y v /ish es to p reven t the In term arriage o f men and women
a cro ss ra ce l i n e s i t must r e s o r t to some s o r t o f s o c ia l c o n t r o l ,—
p u b lic o p in io n , r e l i g i o u s d o c tr in e and r i t u a l , or le g a l p r o h ib i­
tio n s or a l l to g e th e r . There must be sev ere p e n a lt ie s fo r th o se
who do n o t conform and th e ir mixed b lood c h ild r e n must s u ff e r a ls o .
So elem en ta l ancl pow erful are the u rg es th a t In flu e n c e c h o ic e in
m arriage th a t only a stro n g s o c ia l c o n tr o l cun bo e f f e c t i v e . Any
s o r t of s o c ia l c o n tr o l a b le to p rev en t in t e r r a c ia l m arriage f o r a
lon g time cannot f a l l to c r e a te a c a s te system ."
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very few s it u a t io n s e x i s t In which Negro-W hite co u p les o f o p p o site
sex may meet and beoome a cq u a in ted .
Should they m eet, s o c i a l usage
l i m i t s and d e fin e s th e scope o f the r e la t io n s h ip so a s to p reclu d e
normal couiftihip, and pow erful s o c i a l p ressu r e o p e r a te s t o preven t
m arriage.
A Negro-W hite couple are n o t regarded as le g it im a t e po­
t e n t i a l mates and the s o c ie t y a ffo r d s them l i t t l e op p o rtu n ity to
p a r t ic ip a t e to g eth er in la r g e r groups, fo r c in g the p a r t ic ip a n t s
to con ceal th e a f f a i r ,
fivery e f f o r t i s made to p rev en t such mar­
r ia g e s from tak in g p la c e .
I f a Negro-W hite couple do break the r u le o f endogamy they
are n o t tr e a te d a s o th er f a m ilie s b u t a s v io la t o r s o f th e moral
cod e.
The m arriage o f one of i t s members to a Negro i s a s much a
d isg r a c e to a White fa m ily a s i s the com m itting o f murder or some
se r io u s crim e.
The o ffen d er may spare h is fa m ily shame and d i s ­
honor by d isa p p ea rin g from them and th e fa m ily u s u a lly a ttem p ts
to keep the marriage s e c r e t from r e l a t i v e s , f r ie n d s , and a s s o c i ­
a te s.
Not on ly doe3 3trong s o c ia l c o n tr o l op erate to p rev en t Ne­
gro-W hite in term a r ria g e, b u t i f such a m arriage does occur power­
f u l unorganized n e g a tiv e sa n c tio n s are a p p lie d .
The White c a s t e
r u t h le s s ly o s t r a c iz e s the o ffen d er and h is fa m ily g e n e r a lly r e f u s e s
to reco g n ize the m arriage or any o f the r e l a t i v e s by m arriage.
Un­
l e s s the m arriage i s co n cea led , a White who v i o l a t e s the ru le o f
endogamy i s made an o u tc a ste and a Negro who d oes so I s more or
l e s s o s tr a c iz e d by h i s group.
In a d d itio n to b ein g shunned by both
Negroes and W hites, the Negro-White cou p le i3 su b jec ted to r i d i c u l e ,
h u m ilia tio n , and p e tty annoyances as w e ll a s to a sev ere employment
handicap and o th er th ro a ts to th e ir s e c u r it y .
A f i n a l ev id en ce o f
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99
cast© I s th e r u le th a t a l l c h ild r e n o f Negro-W hite m arriages and
th e ir d escen d an ts are perm anently r e le g a te d to the group o f i n f e r i ­
or s t a t u s .
There i s no esca p e from Negro c a s t e membership u n le s s
th e c h ild can p ass fo r W hite, in which case he must g iv e up h is
Negro r e l a t iv e s and fr ie n d s and run the r i s k o f b ein g found o u t.
The stro n g s o c ia l d isa p p ro v a l of Negro-W hite in term a rria g e,
to g e th e r w ith th e e f f e c t i v e a p p lic a tio n o f n e g a tiv e s o c ia l san c­
t i o n s , i s stro n g in d ic a tio n th a t a s o c ia l system s im ila r to th a t
o f the South i s o p era tin g in Chicago and the N orth.
The evid en ce
d e f i n i t e l y p o in ts to th e o r g a n iz a tio n o f r e la t io n s between Negroes
and YJhites in Chicago on th e b a s is of c a s t e .
We have found th a t
the g en era l a t t it u d e o f the s o c ie t y i s th a t of v io l e n t o p p o sitio n
to Negro-W hite in term a r ria g e.
The Negro a s w e ll a s th e White group
opposes such m arriages, in c o n tr a s t to the s it u a t io n in c l a s s s y s ­
tems where groups o f lower rank do n o t, as a r u le , view w ith d i s ­
fa v o r the marriage o f one of th e ir number to a person o f h igher
c la s s sta tu s.
The taboo on Negro-White in term arriage in the North o f the
U nited S ta te s i s probably a s e f f e c t i v e as i s the p r o h ib itio n o f
in term arriage in o th er c a s te sy stem s.
So r i g id i s the taboo on
In term arriage th a t a m in o rity of the members o f th e s o c ie t y could
p o in t out anyone who had broken i t , and there are many who are un­
aware th a t such v io la t io n s of the mores occur a t a l l .
I f , a s seems p rob ab le, what has been found in Chicago rep ­
r e s e n ts the s it u a t io n elsew h ere in the North, we may conclude th a t
c a s te p r in c ip le s govern r e la t io n s between Ncgroos and Whites In the
U nited S t a t e s —n o t m erely In the South—and th a t r e g io n a l v a r ia tio n
e x i s t s as a r e s u l t of d if f e r e n c e s in h is t o r i c a l background and of
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100
th e p ro p o rtio n o f N egroes to W hites in the p o p u la tio n .'; We cannot
here d e a l w ith th e h i s t o r i c a l p ro cess through which American c a s t e
h as d evelo p ed , h u t th e r e g io n a l d if f e r e n c e s could be ex p la in e d In
h i s t o r i c a l term s.
C aste i s much more a b a s ic fe a tu r e o f th e s o c ia l o rg a n iza ­
t io n in the South than i t i s in the N orth.
The c a s t e system r e ­
mains as th e fo u n d a tio n o f the s o c ia l str u c tu r e o f the Deep South,
i s g iv e n l e s s em phasis in th e border s t a t e s , and i s more or l e s s
in c id e n t a l in th e North where the Negro p o p u la tio n i s sm a ll.
While
th ere i s a g r e a te r su b ord in ation o f the Negro and a g r e a te r r i g i d ­
i t y and more com plete a ccep ta n ce o f th e c a s t e system in th e South
than i n the N orth, r e la t io n s between Negroes and W hites are gov­
erned by p r in c ip le s o f c a s te in both r e g io n s .
I f we were to examine the r e l a t i o n s between n a tiv e w hite
Americans and v a rio u s r e l i g i o u s , r a c i a l or e th n ic groups we would
f in d s o c ia l p a tte r n s which In many ways resem ble c a s t e .
There are
a number of m in o rity groups in the U nited S ta te s which tend to be
su b ord in a ted , endogamous, d e sc e n t groups.
However, the c a s t e po­
s i t i o n of the Negro i s more d e f i n i t e l y f ix e d and o f a d if f e r e n t
o rd er.
I t has been argued th a t the Negroes c o n s t it u t e a m in ority
group ra th er than a c a s t e in the U nited S t a t e s , or th a t they are
changing from a c a s t e to a r a c i a l or n a tio n a l m in o rity .^
A number
of e th n ic groups, mainly immigrant groups from Europe and A sia ,
which hove not become c u lt u r a lly a s s im ila t e d are commonly d escrib ed
a s m in ority grou p s.
In most c a ses t h e ir s t a t u s Is n ot permanent
f o r th e ir d escendants may become in d is t in g u is h a b le from oth er Ameri­
ca n s.
Negroes may be regarded as a permanent m in o rity group, b u t
"^Robert E. Park, " In troduction" to B. W. D oyle, op. c l t . ,
p. x x ii.
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101
a t th e same time th ey have a l l th e c h a r a c t e r is t ic s o f a c a s t e .
!
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