From the African American Registry

On this date in 1664, Maryland passed the first anti-amalgamation law. This law was intended to prevent marriages between Black men and English women.

Miscegenation pamphlet

A pamphlet warning that the election of Abraham Lincoln would bring back miscegenation (racial mixing).

Interracial marriage was a fairly common practice during the colonial era among white indentured servants and black slaves as well as in more aristocratic circles.

Subsequently, similar laws were passed in Virginia 1691, Massachusetts 1705, North Carolina 1715, South Carolina 1717, Delaware 1721 and Pennsylvania in 1725. Intermarriage bans were lifted during Reconstruction in the early 1870’s, but by the end of the decade mixed marriages were declared void. It wasn’t until the 1950’s and 1960’s that all of these laws were lifted again.

Lovings1Grey Villet of LIFE mag

In 1967, Richard and Mildred Loving took their case for the freedom to marry across racial lines to the Supreme Court and won. (Photo: Grey Villet, Life Magazine)

However in October, 1958, a Virginia grand jury indicted Mildred Loving and her white husband for violating the state’s anti-miscegenation laws. Each pleaded guilty and received a one-year sentence. Their sentences were suspended providing they leave Virginia and not return for twenty-five years. The Loving’s appealed that decision to the U. S. Supreme court in Loving v. Virginia in 1967 and won. The Supreme Court struck down the Virginia law and similar laws in fifteen other states at the time.

Read more here.