In the 1960s, one of the main fears of integration was miscegenation. Miscegenation, or racial mixing, was especially controversial within families. in other words, people seemed to reluctantly accept black-white relationships as long as the black-white couples did not include close family, particularly their children. As the decade progressed, black-white relationships became more accepted.
In 1960, there were 51,000 black-white married couples. By the end of the decade, that number had increased to 65,000. Exposure by newspapers and magazine articles, civil rights movements, and new laws played a large role in expanded acceptance. In 1961, Swedish actress May Britt (white) wrote an article for Ebony entitled, “Why I Married Sammy Davis Jr.” In 1962, Ebony published an article written by Lerone Bennett Jr. entitled, “Negro History Part X: Miscegenation in America”. In September of 1963, three articles were published about Charlayne Hunter; the first black girl to attend the University of Georgia. The articles were written about her because she married a white student named Walter Stovall. The title of one of the three articles was, “Where Integration Led to Intermarriage”.
In 1967, the Supreme Court ruled that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were unconstitutional. The case, Loving v. Virginia, may have been the green light Hollywood was looking for. In late 1967, with black-white relationships in the news, Hollywood released Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. The film tacked the question, “Would you want your daughter to marry a Negro?”
Less than a year later, the first interracial kiss on television occurred on Star Trek between Nichelle Nichols and William Shatner.
Lerone Bennett, Jr., “Negro History Part X: Miscegenation in America,” Ebony 17 (October 1962): 94-104.
May Britt, “Why I Married Sammy Davis Jr.,” Ebony 16 (January 1961): 96-102.
Randall Kenney, “Interracial Intimacy,” The Atlantic Monthly (Online) December 2002.
Where Integration Led to Intermarriage,” U.S. News & World Report 55 (September 16, 1963):10.