These are the incredible images of interracial couples in the 19th century – at a time when mixed-race marriage was either taboo or simply prohibited by law.
Posing together proudly these extraordinary photos provide a rare glimpse into some of the mixed-race couples in the 1800s and early 1900s, who didn’t let the society’s prejudices determine their life decisions.
Although many of these interracial couples are known individuals who paved the way for mixed-race relationships in the future, there is little information about others.
But all of the fascinating pairs pictured would have certainly faced disapproval and harsh anti-miscegenation laws.
In the United States, it was just forty three years ago that interracial marriage were made fully legal in all fifty states.
Even though slavery was abolished in 1865, mixed-race marriages were prohibited by law in the years following the American Civil War.
In Southern and western states alike, anti-miscegenation laws were enacted which criminalized sexual relations and cohabitation between whites and non-whites.
Louis Gregory and Louisa Mathews Gregory. American man Louis Gregory and British women Louisa Mathews met while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Egypt back in 1911
Gladys (Emery) Aoki and Gunjiro Aoki, March 1909. Gunjiro was a Japanese American whilst Gladys was Caucasian. The couple wed in Seattle on March 27, 1909, after traveling from California and Oregon, which prohibited mixed-race marriages and declined to issue them a license
Charles Meehan, a white Irishman and a Hester Meehan, who was born in Canada. A family historian said: ‘For Charles, it was just a natural thing to marry this woman who racially wasn’t the same as him but in every other way was the love of his life’. Charles and Hester were born in 1856, three months apart. They were married in Canada, where interracial marriage was legal though frowned upon. But for reasons that are unclear, they later headed south to Nebraska with three children in tow.
It wasn’t until 1967 when Richard and Mildred Loving – a couple whose mixed-race marriage saw them exiled from their Virginia home – took their fight to the Supreme Court, that things changed.
The Supreme Court ruled that all laws prohibiting interracial marriage were illegal and ended all race-based legal restrictions in the United States.
Although interracial marriage was never prohibited in the United Kingdom, it was frowned upon by society up until the 1960s.
An unidentified interracial couple are seen posing happily on their wedding day