FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Charles F. Robinson, a historian at the University of Arkansas and expert on anti-miscegenation laws in the South, is available to comment on the new critically-acclaimed film Loving, which describes the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that found laws prohibiting interracial marriage to be unconstitutional.
“In the tumultuous decades after the Civil War, as the Southern white elite reclaimed power, the fear of ‘racial mixing’ was used as a tool by segregationists to impose a Jim Crow system that assured the continuance of a white over black social and legal structure,” said Robinson, author of the book Dangerous Liaisons: Sex and Love in the Segregated South.
Loving tells the true story of the courtship and marriage of Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Charles Loving, a white man, who were arrested and sent to prison in Virginia in 1958 because their interracial marriage violated the state’s anti-miscegenation laws. The couple sued the state and the case ultimately was decided by the Supreme Court.
Dangerous Liaisons examines how white Southerners enforced anti-miscegenation laws. Robinson’s findings documented a pattern of selective prosecution under which interracial domestic relations were punished even more harshly than transient sexual encounters.
Robinson studied legal cases from across the South – including the Loving case – considering both criminal prosecutions brought by states and civil disputes over marital and family assets. According to the Journal of American History, the book is “a useful volume for those who want to know more about the variety of anti-miscegenation laws in the South or the gap between statutory law and legal enforcement.”
Robinson is a professor of history and vice chancellor for diversity and community at the University of Arkansas.
Charles Robinson, professor, Department of History
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
Chris Branam, research communications writer/editor