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Jim Crow NorthThe Struggle for Equal Rights in Antebellum New England$
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Richard Archer

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190676643

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190676643.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 April 2021

Breaking a Barrier

Breaking a Barrier

(p.149) 10 Breaking a Barrier
Jim Crow North

Richard Archer

Oxford University Press

Had Massachusetts legislators been aware of how many mixed marriages existed in their state (and in their region, for that matter), they may not have repealed the law. In their own lives they may have encountered or heard of a couple with mixed ancestry, but that would have been rare. Their experience reinforced the idea that people of African descent and people of European descent preferred to live among their "kind." Even if they didn't find each other physically repugnant, they still had no desire to intermarry. But observations and hearsay did not match reality. During the antebellum period there were at least 410 mixed marriages in New England, scattered through no fewer than 209 cities, towns, and villages. They occurred in all parts of the region and had distinctive characteristics. Their existence substantiated the fluidity of the construction of race (as evidenced in public records) and showed the complexity of New England types of racism and even its absence.

Keywords:   mixed marriages, fluidity of race, Census records, racism, New England

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