Tangled Fortunes

The Hidden History of Interracial Marriage in the Segregated South


By Kathryn Schumaker

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$41.00 CAD



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A history of Southern segregationists’ long war against interracial relationships, and the century-long fight to restore the freedom to love, marry, and inherit

Interracial marriage was already illegal in some of the American colonies as early as the 1690s. But long before the Supreme Court declared that interracial couples had the right to marry in 1967, these families were far from rare. It took decades of hard work by Southern lawmakers and judges to create the illusion that they were, as Tangled Fortunes reveals in this new history of the rise and fall of the domestic color line. 
In Tangled Fortunes, historian Kathryn Schumaker narrates how the prohibition of interracial marriage became a priority for white supremacist lawmakers. To prevent white wealth falling into Black hands, they papered over the reality of interracial relationships, steered inheritances away from those who did not pass as white, and hardened the lines of racist exclusion. But they could neither erase the region’s longer history of interracial relationships nor suppress the inheritance claims of biracial descendants dating back to the era of slavery. Tangled Fortunes sheds new light on the ways that interracial families overcame racist laws, uncovered closely kept Southern secrets, and battled to reclaim Black wealth—a fight that continues to this day.  
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On Sale
Jan 28, 2025
Page Count
336 pages
Basic Books

Kathryn Schumaker

About the Author

Kathryn Schumaker is senior lecturer of American studies at the University of Sydney. The author of Troublemakers: Students’ Rights and Racial Justice in the Long 1960s, she lives in Australia. 

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