RACES: The Quality of Citizenship

Under Title 20, Section 54 of a Virginia law passed in 1924, white Virginians are permitted to marry only whites—those who have "no trace whatever of any blood other than Caucasian." (In deference to the proud descendants of Pocahontas, there is an exception in favor of those who may be "one-sixteenth or less" American Indian, but otherwise all white.) Under the law, white-colored marriages of Virginia residents are "absolutely void" even if they have been contracted out of state, and both parties in an interracial marriage may be sentenced to five years in the state penitentiary.*

In practice, 20-54 is...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!