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Her parents did not marry until almost two years after her birth, so Mary was either illegitimate or one of her parents had a previous, unknown marriage that produced her. The importance and uniqueness of this marriage lies in the fact that Mary Matilda’s groom, Enoch Lovejoy Lewis, was the son of a black father and a mixed-race mother. Three years after Massachusetts repealed its ban of allowing white people to marry either those of African or Native American descent, this inter-racial marriage of a white Mormon woman and a black Mormon man ignited a firestorm in the LDS Church, and its effects are still being felt to this day.
Massachusetts and Black-White Marriage William Lloyd Garrison is credited with launching the campaign to repeal the 1705 law barring marriages between white people and those of African descent, although black abolitionists had certainly desired this long before Garrison began his “campaign.” The , included an urgent appeal for the “obliteration” of the 1786 law, which made performing an interracial marriage a crime punishable by a fine of 50 pounds, or roughly ,000 today. Garrison's 1831 Liberator Article (Click on Image to Enlarge) Garrison wrote that this “disgraceful” and “inconsistent” law prohibiting such marriages was “an invasion of one of the inalienable rights of every man, namely, ‘the pursuit of happiness’”.
Next I reveal previously unknown statements and ideas about black-white marriage and white racial superiority as found in the from 1864 to 1910.
And lastly, I examine how LDS doctrine influenced Utah territorial and state laws on black-white marriage, resulting in a small but influential and ultimately successful civil rights movement in Utah and within Mormonism that called on LDS leaders to abolish antiquated and unnecessary restrictions on the boundaries of love and marriage.
On February 24, 1843, the Massachusetts state legislature voted to repeal the old law.
Drawing of Choctaw Chief, Mosholatubbee (Click on Image to Enlarge) Mc Cary was baptized and then ordained an Elder allegedly by Orson Hyde about February 1846 (as the rest of the Mormons abandoned Nauvoo and headed to points westward).
About this time, Hyde is reported to have also married Mc Cary to “a white sister” at Nauvoo.
Both were members of the LDS Church in the Lowell MA branch.
The young bride, Mary Matilda, was from Chester, MA – a tiny rural village in the southwestern area of that state.