Virginia Interracial Few Reflects on 50th Anniversary

Virginia Interracial Few Reflects on 50th Anniversary

When Ted, who’s white, and Julia, who is African American, first met in 1969, mixed-race couples frequently did not marry

By Lisa Vernon Sparks • Published on 1, 2020 at 9:00 am february

It is seldom a couple can celebrate an anniversary that is golden usually marked after five years of marriage.

Previously this month Ted and Julia Sethman joined the ranks of the who’ve — and renewed their vows first made in 1970.

“We never did anything for our anniversary,” 75-year-old Julia Sethman stated, though she and hubby Ted, also 75, always would talk about doing something.


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“My husband would offer me personally a card, but we never did a cruise, or dinner or nothing,” she said.

Their union was a rare event — the Sethmans can be an interracial couple. The couple reflected on marriage and some of the adversity they faced during their early years after five decades.

Ted, who’s white, and Julia, who’s African American, first met in 1969 at a shared friend’s wedding and quickly linked.

After having a brief courtship, they received a permit from the Hampton Circuit Court and hitched at Zion Baptist Church on County Street about 6 months later on.

At the time, interracial partners frequently failed to wed.

In Virginia in 1970, there were 244 interracial marriages out of 52,120 overall unions with one or more white partner, according to data provided by Peter C. Hunt, a data analyst using the Virginia Department of Health’s office of data administration. Data gathered is from sources considered to be accurate and dependable at that true point of the time, search stated.

Only as recent as autumn 2019 did Virginia state stop race that is listing wedding licenses, said Linda Batchelor, Hampton’s clerk of the circuit court.

Had it been five years ahead of 1970, the couple may not have been permitted to marry at all.


The 1924 racial purity act, which was still in effect during the mid-1960s, did not allow interracial marriage in Virginia under state code. Comparable guidelines prohibiting interracial relations have been regarding the publications in Virginia dating back to to the seventeenth century, history scholar Cassandra Newby-Alexander stated.

That changed in 1967, whenever Richard and Mildred Loving, a white guy and a black colored woman, challenged hawaii legislation that made their wedding illegal. Their instance went along pussysaga login to the U.S. Supreme Court, with all the court that is top unanimously that it was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment.

Provided the time period, into the waning days of strict Jim Crow regulations, with desegregation ebbing into public education, there nevertheless ended up being proof of discrimination elsewhere in your community. Buckroe Beach ended up being nevertheless mostly split, with Bay Shore resort still a selection for blacks. Blacks only lived in certain neighborhoods. The amusement that is local was segregated.

The Sethmans, who raised three children, said they endured numerous uncomfortable stares and encountered a couple of unsettling incidents.

“We type of got along with each other even though that at the full time, there clearly was, you realize, colored restrooms and white bathrooms and bus channels . ” Julia Sethman said.

Nevertheless the couple shrugged it off, having received large amount of support from friends.

“Well, we simply kept directly on going. We can’t stop folks from looking at you, and on occasion even having their opinions,” Julia Sethman said. “But they never purchased their opinions out verbally and talked them to us. Never.”


Ted Sethman, a native of Kent, Ohio, spent my youth in a small community and graduated from senior high school in 1964.

Sethman, raised Catholic, stated he went to a school that has been mostly white, but his moms and dads did know some black colored families.

“There had been only 1 person that is black my (graduating) class,” he said.

The excitement of this fresh Air Force beckoned Sethman. He finally finished up at Langley in Hampton, where he became an E-4 airplane and specialist auto mechanic.

Julia Miles Wilson, who is a Hampton native and Baptist, stated she became a mother at 16, quickly hitched because of this and didn’t finish senior school.

With Fort Monroe, then an energetic military post, in the vicinity and throngs of men and women serving, Julia Sethman stated her experience with white persons ended up being generally neutral.

“We always got along side white people and constantly communicated using them,” Julia Sethman stated. “We were constantly raised getting along with everybody.”

By the time she came across Ted, Julia Sethman possessed a son that is 7-year-old James, and ended up being estranged from her son’s dad.

A close friend of hers had been marrying a friend of Ted’s, she said.

Regarding the nights their wedding, Julia Miles Wilson endured at the altar and viewed as buddies of this groom entered the chapel.