In a 13-page opinion issued Monday, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh reversed rulings dating back to 1916 that upheld “racially discriminatory state laws,” including those related to interracial marriage and education discrimination, William J. Ford reports for Maryland Matters.
Which Maryland laws does the opinion reference?
The opinion outlines the history of racist laws in Maryland starting in the 17th century when lawmakers legalized the enslavement of Black people—an already existing practice at the time. Also in 1664, state officials issued the first prohibition against interracial marriage and continued to pass related laws until bans on interracial marriage were determined to be unconstitutional in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court Loving v. Virginia case.
In 1865, Maryland required each district to offer one or more free schools for white youth exclusively, and until 1920, the state did not provide any higher education opportunities for Black students.
“The laws were abhorrent and ultimately held to be unconstitutional. We hope that our opinion today will help remove the stain of those earlier, harmful and erroneous works,” Frosh said in a statement.
Anything else I should know?
Maryland joins other states that have recently repealed racist laws. Residents in Alabama, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont voted in November to amend their constitutions to outlaw slavery in any form, Kathryn Mannie reports for Global News. However, voters in Louisiana rejected an amendment to their constitution that would have changed it’s wording to prohibit the legalization of slavery in any form.
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