Interracial Marriage, Racial Conflict, Utah, white supremacy


Racial conflict is no stranger to America's past. With the demise of slavery, many whites harbored fears of a new racial order. Through their efforts, they established an inequitable society once more, the intent of which was to promote white superiority and degrade the black community. Segregation and racial discrimination characterized the next cenrury of America's story. Blacks faced prejudice in many contexts, including education, employment, housing, and even social relationships, such as dating and marriage. Anti-miscegenation laws were a significant component of this discriminatory society. In her book What Comes Naturally, Peggy Pasco states that "opposition to interracial marriage ... serve[d] as the bottom line of white supremacy and the most commonsense justification for all other forms of race discrimination." Similarly, Neil Foley states, "interracial marriage was-and still is-the single greatest transgression against white supremacist ideals." Although anti-miscegenation sentiments and laws were fairly widespread throughout the country in the middle of the twentieth cenrury, many Utahns, surrounded by a strong religious influence and living in a largely white community, would see the issue of miscegenation differently than their counterparts in the rest of the country. Individual accounts and perspectives indicate that Utah's unique religious and racial demographics significantly shaped many Utahn's view of miscegenation during the 1960s and 1970s. the same demongraphics have continued to influenace race relations int the state.