About the Project

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Martin Luther King Jr.
“I Have a Dream” speech
Aug. 28, 1963

Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. It was a monumental moment in history. King’s speech filled millions with hope that the future would bring tolerance, compassion and an overall better life for their children.

Nearly five decades later, south Louisiana still finds itself polarized by race. Although racism has changed its form over the years, stereotypes and stigmas of those living across the color line are still prevalent in both rural and urban areas.

Even with this seemingly great divide among races, interracial marriages in Louisiana and across the nation have steadily grown. According to Census Bureau estimates, multiracial individuals make up about 9 million, or 8 percent, of the minority population and will represent a majority of the U.S. population by mid-century. In essence, people are crossing racial boundaries to find love. However, can these interracial couples ever truly find acceptance?

Do parents, who are literally living King’s dream, now fear that their children won't have a place in society because of the color of their skin?

These are some of the questions posed to the 11 couples interviewed for theadvocate.com’s Living Interracial project, which will unfold from Aug. 13 - Aug. 25 and encompass four stories, 13 video interviews and two photo galleries. Each piece of the project is designed to give a different perspective on what it means to build a life with someone of another race.

The goal of the Living Interracial project is simple: It is meant to start a dialogue on a subject that is still seen as taboo in south Louisiana.

Kevin McQuarn
theadvocate.com Entertainment Editor/Chief Videographer

Interracial families not targeted in advertising

Advocate Staff Photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Karen and Hardy Clark were married on Oct. 31, 1998.  They are pictured with their children, Jace and Cydney at the LSU lakes.  In the beginning, when the couple felt they needed to hide their relationship, the lakes were a frequent meeting place, they said.

Interracial couples, families and children are moving into area neighborhoods and schools, playing in community parks, and frequenting fairs and festivals in Baton Rouge, yet their faces and images rarely show up in advertising and marketing venues, said … Continue reading →

Multiracial children face unique challenges in the South

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Bridgette and Thomas White, pictured in their living room, have been married for 20 years.  They have three children, one of which is in college.  The couple has stayed busy supporting their younger children's passion for gymnastics.

Millsaps College junior Timothy “Trevor” White, 20, still remembers the stinging words that confused and puzzled him following his visit to a grade-school friend’s home years ago. “My friend (who is white) asked his dad if I … Continue reading →

Parents struggle with children’s interracial relationships

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Bernell and Kristy Smith, pictured on the levee in Port Allen, have been together since 1996, and married since 2004.  They have two children, Corey, 8, and Camden, 2, and one on the way.  Kristy said she probably would not have met Bernell had she not moved from Baton Rouge to Brusly, and worked in the same restaurant with him.

Parents of interracial couples and families sometimes struggle with their own personal prejudices, have mixed feelings toward interracial marriage and grapple with the numbing fear that a hate crime could threaten their children’s personal safety. These parents … Continue reading →

The Zipperts: More than Louisiana’s first interracial marriage

John and Carol Zippert were married at St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in Lafayette on Aug 13, 1967. According to newspaper accounts, police patrolled the area and the media was barred from entering the church where about 600 people attended. They were the first interracial couple to wed in Louisiana.

Early state laws in America and in Louisiana forbade interracial marriage. They also criminalized and threatened couples refusing compliance by sentencing them to prison. This year marks the 45-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in … Continue reading →