X marrying Y <> Y marrying X?

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 11 04:17:17 UTC 2007

Onstott's "Mandingo," has some suggestions as to extralegal penalties
that be meted out to "brunette" transgressors.


On 9/10/07, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: X marrying Y <> Y marrying X?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 9/10/2007 03:21 PM, John Baker wrote:
> >The point is, if it's mutual, you don't have to tell who is the
> >marrier and who is the marriee.  I suppose that the Commonwealth of
> >Virginia would have contrasted their statute to a hypothetical statute
> >that imposed penalties upon a black person who entered into marriage
> >with a white person, but not upon the white spouse.
> I suspect this is the point in Virginia, at least.  But there the
> penalties were on the white marrying the black.  (Penalties on the
> slave were probably pointless:  he or she had no property to pay a
> fine; the term of servitude could not be extended beyond life; and
> corporal punishment might adversely affect the property rights of the
> slave's owner.)  Happening to have in my hand at the moment A. Leon
> Higginbotham Jr.'s _In the Matter of Color: Race and the American
> Legal Process -- The Colonial Period_ (1978), I find him writing:
> "The 1705 prohibition against interracial marriage was reenacted in
> 1792; both statutes imposed a penalty of six months' imprisonment on
> whites, but curiously at that time no imprisonment penalty was
> imposed on blacks in the statutes.  In 1848 the imprisonment for
> whites marrying blacks was increased to twelve months.  It was not
> until 1932, when the statute was amended, that imprisonment was
> imposed on _both_ [emphasis in original] blacks and whites for
> intermarrying, and in 1932 the penalty was increased to confinement
> in the "penitentiary for from one to five years."  [page 46]
> (Higginbotham also discusses Loving v. Virginia.)
> Joel
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