For Virginia’s Native People, Continued Impacts of 1924 Racial Integrity Act

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 4.47.37 PMAs members of the Pamunkey tribe of Virginia seek federal recognition through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the impact of a long-dead Virginia eugenicist, Walter Plecker, continues to be felt, reports the Washington Post. As the head of Virginia’s Bureau of Vital Statistics, Plecker was the architect of the 1924 Racial Integrity Act, which “criminalized interracial marriage and required that every birth in the state be recorded by race with ┬áthe only options being ‘White’ and ‘Colored,’ ” effectively erasing “Indian” as a recognized racial category. The impacts of that legal erasure continue to be felt.

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