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Interracial Marriage Then and Now

Together for decades, four couples discuss struggles and offer advice

Fred and Ann Jealous, Pacific Grove, Calif.

When friendship turned to something more for Fred and Ann Jealous in 1966, they were afraid to hold hands in public. At the movies, they entered separately and met in the middle of a darkened row. Marriage between blacks and whites was illegal then in Maryland, where the couple lived, so Ann didn't consider Fred as a potential husband. But then, "a wall fell down," she says. They wed in Washington, D.C., one year before the Supreme Court deemed anti-miscegenation laws illegal in 1967. — Photo by Christa Renee/DS Reps

In the last 30 years, the number of interracial marriages in the U.S. has more than doubled. In 1980, 7 percent of new marriages brought together people from different racial or ethnic backgrounds, reports the Pew Research Center. Today, 15 percent of newlyweds are crossing the racial divide.

See also: Faces of the Freedom Rides: Ten who went, then and now.

Societal attitudes about these unions have also shifted. Today, nearly
two-thirds of Americans say they're fine with people marrying someone of a different race. In 1986, only 28 percent of people agreed with that
statement.

Here are the stories of four couples, married more than 30 years, who
crossed racial, societal and even legal barriers to be the pioneers that
paved the way for today's new way of thinking about interracial marriages.

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