Loving v Virginia


Loving v Virginia


Collection Items

Sorrells Family Tree
Atha Sorrells presented her family tree as evidence that she was white in her suit to obtain a license to marry Robert Painter.

Judge Leon M. Bazile, Indictment for Felony
"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows…

Petition of Robert Wright seeking divorce from Mary Godsey
Robert Wright, a free black, married Mary Godsey, a white woman, in 1806. In January 1815 she eloped with a white man, taking with her a slave and other property. Wright overtook the couple and persuaded his wife to return. That November, she fled…

"The New Virginia Law to Preserve Racial Integrity"
In the Virginia Law to Preserve Racial Integrity, "white" persons were defined as those with "no trace whatsoever of any blood other than Caucasian" or "one-sixteenth or less of the blood of the American Indian." The second part of the definition was…

Circular Letter to "Local Registrars, Clerks, Legislators, and others responsible for, and interested in, the prevention of racial intermixture," from Walter A. Plecker, State Registrar of Vital Statistics, Richmond
In a 1943 letter to local registrars, clerks, and legislators, Plecker asserted, "[T]here does not exist today a descendant of Virginia ancestors claiming to be an Indian who is unmixed with negro blood."

Surnames, by Counties and Cities, of Mixed Negroid Virginia Families Striving to Pass as "Indian" or White.
Walter Plecker circulated a list of surnames of "mixed negroid Virginia families striving to pass as 'Indian' or white" in each county.

Registration of Birth and Color--Virginia
Every person living in Virginia had to register as either "white" or "colored." This designation determined whom a person could marry and where he or she could attend school, among other things.

Application for Marriage License (Charlie Sorrells and Sophia Jane Woods)
In his application for a marriage license, Charlie Sorrells indicated that both he and his fiancee, Sophia Jane Woods, were white. A.T. Shields, the same clerk of the court who denied Atha Sorrells' right to marry, signed the license. The Sorrells'…
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