The forbidden interracial marriage that survived the Civil War



Nearly 90 years before the US Supreme Court struck down all state laws prohibiting interracial marriage, a former slave and a former Confederate soldier quietly wed in rural South Carolina, less than a decade after the end of the Civil War.

The improbable love story of William Ramey, a white man who served as a judge, and his black wife and mother of his nine children, Kittie Simkins, has been documented by the couple’s seventh-generation descendant Paula Wright, who has collected hundreds of photographs and letters documenting her extraordinary family history.

Wright, who lives in Atlanta, first spoke to the New York Times about her ancestors’ unheard-off relationship, which began in 1860, when Ramey was 20 years and Simkins was just 14.

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