W.E.B. Du Bois


April 1, 1916

There are those who from time to time suggest that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and The Crisis go far afield in opposing laws to prohibit intermarriage between white and colored people. They argue that neither race desires intermarriage; that it is a matter “purely social,” and that legalizing the prohibition simply puts stern custom into law. Every now and then, however, there come cases which show the utter blindness of the persons who thus argue and prove that anti-intermarriage laws are simply cloaks for wrong and injustice. In Evansville, Ind., just across the river from Kentucky, Clifford Yarborough, a wealthy white man of Pulaski, Tenn., came into the Circuit Court the other day and asked permission to adopt a seventeen-year-old mulatto girl. The girl might easily pass for white; she is strikingly beautiful and talented in music. Yarborough willingly admitted that the girl’s mother was colored, and that he was the father. He said, “I feel like I should rectify a wrong.” There is no law against intermarriage of races in Indiana, but there is in Tennessee. Judge Givens, therefore, refused to permit the adoption. He said that “if he legitimatized the daughter he would be taking a step which would in practice have the same results as permitting the intermarriage of races.” Therefore let us piously ruin the life of an innocent girl!


For attribution, please cite this work as:
Du Bois, W.E.B. 1916. “Intermarriage.” The Crisis 11 (6): 306.