In 1967, the Supreme Court struck down laws banning interracial marriage, opening the way for a change in American demographics.Like Squanto, who supposedly saved the Pilgrims from starvation, Pocahontas was romanticized as an Indian who gave a helping hand to whites.At a time when one drop of African blood made one a slave or second-class citizen, a drop of Pocahontas’s blood was viewed as a source of high breeding, even aristocracy. Tilton has shown, America’s upper classes bragged of their descent from Pocahontas, and Confederates celebrated her as a progenitor of the South. cs=8cce9d605f&cb=%%CACHEBUSTER%%" ><img src="//ax-d.pixfuture.net/w/1.0/ai? auid=538450735&cs=8cce9d605f&cb=%%CACHEBUSTER%%" border="0" alt=""></a> Four hundred years ago this past spring, North America witnessed its first interracial marriage.Most Americans don’t know the time or place of the ceremony, but everyone knows the bride—Pocahontas, the famous Powhatan princess.Their scheme backfired when Pocahontas died during a whirlwind tour of England.
Jamestown higher-ups blessed the nuptials, even though they viewed Indians with contempt.
They saw a big advantage in having an Indian princess (and any male offspring) on their side.
Since her death in 1617, she’s been the inspiration for hundreds of paintings, poems, and plays, not to mention movies and marketing campaigns.
Her rescue of John Smith from execution has become a founding myth of American culture, retold by one generation after another.
Once open to interracial unions, the Virginia Colony passed laws in 1691 banishing interracial married couples, defined as a union between whites and “Negro, mulatto, or Indian man or woman.” Other colonial legislatures put similar language on the books, giving legal reality to racial fears.At the same time authorities were clamping down, the myth of Pocahontas’s marriage only grew.