Rob Boyte | Loving Day

Rob Boyte

Thu, 06/02/2011 - 3:43pm -- Rob_Boyte
State (if you are in the U.S.A): 
United States
Administrative Assistant

Rob and Brenda

Rob, a white guy fell in love with Brenda, a black woman. This was in the New Orleans area in 1980 so we were free to associate without the overt hatred we may have endured just across the lake in rural Louisiana. In fact, New Orleans had an established history of mixed races with its obvious Cafe Aux Lait colored Creole population.

Brenda and I moved to Florida, first settling in Gainesville, a small southern town but for the huge University of Florida that dominates it. Therefore we had support of the young intellectual community, though there was an active local Ku Klux Klan that would show up occasionally in white dresses and dunce caps.

Occasionally we would get a non-accepting stare from strangers and if either of us saw such we had a codeword for dealing with it called "kiss me." What a fun way to deal with bigots. There was a funny incident in Gainesville one day as we were walking down the sidewalk arm-in-arm and saw two old men at a bus stop, one white and one black - both looking at us with disdain. There is an irony that was lost on those two old Southerners, that they were interracially sharing the same hateful response to our interracial love.
Brenda was not immediately accepted by my mother in St. Louis, which put a strain on our communication for a couple of years until mom decided we were in it for the long-haul. (Missouri was one of the 17 states with miscegenation laws in 1967). In 1983, we were legally married in Miami without so much as a glance askance from anyone at the courthouse or the notary at Unity on the Bay where we were married.

With the racial ensalada that is South Florida interracial couples are hardly noticeable any more. Overall, for the two decades that Brenda and I were a couple we received very little negative response, a legacy of the Loving decision.

See the full story on the Memory Book of the virtual National Museum of African-American History and Culture

Or on my personal Webpage with more pics: