Monday, March 14, 2011

The Virginia Racial Integrity Act of 1924

This begins a three-part series on the infamous Dr. Walter Plecker, Registrar of Virginia's Bureau of Vital Statistics from 1912 to 1946, who for decades conducted a racial inquisition in Virginia which resulted in all Virginia residents previously classified as being Indian and some previously classified as being white being reclassified, against their will, as "colored." Plecker's reign of documentary terror, which brought untold anguish and suffering to its victims, was buttressed and expanded by passage of the equally infamous Virginia Racial Integrity Act of 1924, an act largely inspired by Pecker himself, the full text of which follows below.

The next article in the series will deal with Plecker's efforts to ferret out and reclassify as "colored" Melungeon families in Virginia (along with many other families he regarded as "passing for white") and include his notorious list of "mongrel" surnames. For now it is worth mentioning that the activities of Dr. Plecker and the Virginia Racial Integrity Act of 1924 were cited at the Nuremberg war crimes trials in defense of Nazi racial laws and activities.

The Virginia Racial Integrity Act was declared unconstitutional in 1967 by the U.S. Supreme Court in an unanimous decision, Loving v. Virginia, and was formally repealed by the Virginia legislature in 1975.

To read the Virginia Racial Integrity Act: Click Here.

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