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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.

Married 45 years

By marrying Ann, Fred lost his inheritance. Most of his New England family stopped all contact, appalled that their name would be passed on to a black child. Still, the Jealouses wouldn't let racism cloud how much they had in common: a taste for adventure, a love of education and a commitment to social justice. And their legacy? Their son, Benjamin, a Rhodes scholar, is now president of the NAACP, the oldest civil rights organization in the country. — 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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