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Fifty Years Ago, the Supreme Court Knocked Down Bans on Interracial Marriage. How Have Things Changed Since Then?

Peter Dreier

Should we allow states to decide whether black Americans may marry white Americans? Today, such an idea seems absurd. Most Americans believe that states shouldn’t be permitted to trample on the basic right of interracial couples to marry. It would be unfair — a clear violation of civil rights. But until 50 years ago (June 12, 1967), when the Supreme Court knocked down state laws banning interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia, 16 states still had such laws on the books. At the time, 72% of Americans opposed marriage between blacks and whites.

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