Missouri Restricts Marriage
A Missouri law states, “No person having one-eighth part or more of Negro blood shall be permitted to marry any white person.” 5 The statute will be renewed in 1909, 1929, and 1949.
South Carolina Restricts Marriage
A South Carolina law states, “Marriage between a white person and an Indian, Negro, mulatto, mestizo, or half-breed shall be null and void.” In 1895, the legislature will amend the state constitution to reflect this statute.
Booker T. Washington returns to his alma mater, the Hampton Institute, in order to teach and mentor students.
Mississippi Voids Mixed Marriage
The Mississippi legislature revises the state code to declare that any marriage between a white person and an African-American is “incestuous and void.”
Jul 4, 1881
In Tuskegee, Alabama, Booker T. Washington founds the Tuskegee Institute, a black vocational school modeled on the Hampton Institute.
West Virginia Restricts Marriage
West Virginia enacts an anti-miscegenation law that prohibits any white person from marrying someone of another race. Those who violate the law are subject to a $100 fine and incarceration for up to one year. Those who perform an interracial marriage ceremony will be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $200. The statute and the penalties associated with it will be renewed in 1931 and 1955.
Court Voids Ku Klux Klan Act
In United States v. Harris, the United States Supreme Court voids the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which had authorized the federal government to deploy national troops against Klansmen and to prosecute perpetrators of racial in a federal court.
Court Overturns Civil Rights Act
The United States Supreme Court rules that the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which had prohibited racial discrimination in theaters, hotels, trains, and other public accommodations, is unconstitutional. Justice John Harlan delivers the only dissenting opinion in the Civil Rights Cases, expressing concern that the ruling violates the Thirteenth Amendment by condoning “badges of slavery.” Henry McNeil Turner, a prominent African-American religious leader, warns that the Court’s decision makes “the ballot of the black man a parody, his citizenship a nullity and his freedom a burlesque.”6
For the first time since 1856, a Democrat is elected president of the United States. In a close race, Stephen Grover Cleveland defeats James G. Blaine, a Republican congressman from Maine. Cleveland, born in New Jersey and raised in New York, takes every state in the Deep South as well as several Northern states including Connecticut, Delaware, New York and New Jersey.
Florida Restricts Marriage and Schools
Florida prohibits interracial marriage. In addition, the legislature bars schools from enrolling both white and black pupils.
Du Bois Teaches
Without the resources to attend Harvard University, W. E. B. Du Bois accepts a scholarship to enter Fisk College, a black school in Nashville, Tennessee. During his three years at Fisk, Du Bois will learn a great deal about American race relations and the particularly stringent color line in the South.