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Beyond the Book

288 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 5 tables, notes, bibl., index

ISBN  978-1-4696-0727-6
Published: February 2013

Almighty God Created the Races

Christianity, Interracial Marriage, and American Law

By Fay Botham

In this fascinating cultural history of interracial marriage and its legal regulation in the United States, Fay Botham argues that religion--specifically, Protestant and Catholic beliefs about marriage and race--had a significant effect on legal decisions concerning miscegenation and marriage in the century following the Civil War. She contends that the white southern Protestant notion that God "dispersed" the races and the American Catholic emphasis on human unity and common origins point to ways that religion influenced the course of litigation and illuminate the religious bases for Christian racist and antiracist movements.

About the Author

Fay Botham is visiting assistant professor of religious studies and American studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She is coeditor of Race, Religion, Region: Landscapes of Encounter in the American West.


"A must read for scholars interested in law and marriage. . . . This book's creativity makes it a necessity for graduates and laypeople interested in interracial sex and miscegenation laws in the US. . . . Highly recommended."

"Offers an important new perspective. . . . A well-researched intellectual history of Catholic and Protestant views of race and interracial marriage and an intriguing analysis of how these views influenced interracial marriage in the United States. Scholars of civil rights, religion, and law in the United States will find Fay Botham's newest work both worthwhile and enjoyable."
--Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

"A compelling . . . addition to an underdeveloped field of history. . . . Worthy of reading for those interested in the American history of interracial relationships."
--Arkansas Review

"Botham compellingly makes her case for the importance of religious underpinnings for segregation in the South."
--Journal of Church History

"The process by which people interpret biblical stories and apply them to contemporary issues--and the limits of those interpretations--is illustrated beautifully. . . . An important contribution to the scholarship on race and religion in America and on our cultural understandings of the production of knowledge. . . . [Will be] extraordinarily useful in the classroom."
--Journal of Religion

"A unique vision of marriage across the color line that breaks new ground and broadens our understanding of the legal prohibition of interracial marriage. . . . A fresh and welcome approach."
--Journal of American History

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