Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: Anachronism Edition

Some of you have probably heard at one point or another that South Carolina only removed its anti-miscegenation statute from its constitution in 1998, and Alabama in 2000. These aren't all isolated incidents.

The repeal of Alabama's anti-miscegenation laws inspired Professor Gabriel Chin to start the Alien Land Law Project in order to get states to repeal their alien land laws. These laws prevented Asians from owning or inheriting land or property. In 2000, Kansas, New Mexico, Florida and Wyoming still had these laws on the books; New Mexico and Florida had them in their constitutions. Wyoming repealed its in 2001, and Kansas in 2002. New Mexico had a vote to remove its alien land law from its constitution in 2002 which failed to pass--it only removed the law from its constitution in 2006. As far as I can tell, Florida's constitution still retains that section.

In 2002, Taylor County High School of Georgia had one prom--for the previous three decades they'd had two, segregated by race.1

Oregon barely ratified the fourteenth amendment in 1866, 13-9 in the Senate and 25-22 in the House. However, when Democrats gained control of the legislature in 1868, they voted to rescind ratification. Oregon didn't re-ratify the 14th amendment until 1973.2

And to top it all, Alabama's constitution still demands that "Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race." A vote in 2004 to amend the constitution to remove that section lost.

Racism, slavery, and Jim Crow left lasting impressions on our society. It's not enough to say that because we passed a Civil Rights Act that everything is fine and dandy.

1. "The End of One Tradition... Two Races, One Prom", Bill Osinski, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 20, 2002.
2. "Race, Politics and Denial: Why Oregon Forgot to Ratify the Fourteenth Amendment", Cheryl A. Brooks, 83 Oregon Law Review, 2004

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