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But Guerrero refused to leave, saying, “I am married and have three children, and they look on me as a Both Louis Gregory, an African American man and Louisa Mathews, a British woman were of the Bahá’í faith: a religion centered on unity.
The two met in 1911 on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in Egypt.
In order to evade Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act, the pair had traveled to Washington, D. In 1963, they approached the American Civil Liberties Union to fight their case in court.
After an extensive legal battle, the Supreme Court ruled that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were unconstitutional in June of 1967.
For eight years they lived as exiles in England, until the Bamangwato sent a personal cable to the Queen in protest.
Their sons Ian and Tshekedi later became significant political figures as well.
But first they had to overcome the wave of bigotry brought about by their controversial marriage.
When they announced the news in 1948, Ruth’s father threw her out of the house, while Seretse’s uncle declared “if he brings his white wife here, I will fight him to the death.” Bowing to pressure from apartheid South Africa, the British government attempted to stop the marriage and then prevented the couple from returning to Botswana.
When Hernan Cortez arrived in the area, an attempt was made to retrieve Guerrero and one other survivor.
Despite countless obstacles, the couple remained married for almost 40 years, until Louis Gregory’s death in 1951.
The marriage and divorce trial of Kip Rhinelander and Alice Jones brought the racial tensions of a nation to court, examining how a person is labeled as “colored” and “white” in legal terms.
With Bahá’í leader Abdu’l-Bahá declaring his staunch support for interracial marriages, Louis and Louisa were married in 1912 in New York, becoming the first interracial Bahá’í couple.
Louis Gregory became a strong advocate for racial unity in both the United States as well as within the Bahá’í community; his most significant expression of the teachings of his faith come from his marriage.
There are very few records of marriages between Europeans and non-Europeans during this time period and many considered such relationships unthinkable.