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Racial Integrity Laws

The Racial Integrity Laws were drafted in the South during the early 20th Century as a means to maintain social order, a key component of which was the preservation of racial purity. The law was enforced through careful monitoring of birth records and marriage laws in which race clarificataion was key.  What race or color and individual had on his birth certificate determined his status in the United States. Even if an individual had only the slightest trace of "negro blood," he was considered black. To learn more (and to read about the Racial Integrity Act of 1924), visit the Encyclopedia of Virginia here.