For the timeframe 1850–1880 I have a question related to the slave trade and love, specifically so-called "interracial love".

Was it possible in any way for a slave woman to marry a white man who had money and some power in his society? Like a lawyer or doctor.

Could there be a time or circumstance where it would be possible? And not cause outrage in the society, so that they could be seen in public together?

I found this:

in 1872, during an interlude in Reconstruction when statutes prohibiting interracial marriage had been suspended. NY Times


2 Answers 2


Socially, these things were frowned upon, but a few people made them work. In order to do so, they used whatever loopholes were available in the written law. Such couples did benefit from the ambiguities in state laws that accompanied Reconstruction that made their actions technically "within the law." They were more public about it at some times than others, depending on the wind of society.

Note well that even Mr. Ramey (the white man) had to spend his life bobbing and weaving around this issue (per the New York Times article that was linked in the question). That is, he spent part of his life claiming that his black wife and children were "household servants" and late in life (around 1910), he set the record straight. Even in 1910, what he did was frowned upon but he laid the foundation for the relationship to come out into the open a century later.


You may be interested to learn of Clarence King, a prominent white explorer and geologist that raised a family with an African American wife in the time period you specify.



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