The Newberry's

Interracial Love in the South

by Patrick and Carroll Newberry

Back in 1974, when the U.S was in the process of leaving Vietnam, I was a young Marine on leave in Wichita Kansas. I had been fishing with my father and grandmother on the banks of the Arkansas River when I found a T-shirt from the university of Kansas. Being somewhat of a scrounger, I picked up this T-shirt and washed it.

While flying back to San Diego I met a young lady that was flying to San Diego from Denver. We talked as we sat next to each other and she asked me for my phone number. Well now don't get the idea that this is my future lovely wife as it is not. I am white and so was this young lady, but being an 18 year old male, I was more than thrilled to have any female's address. However since we were busy at Camp Pendleton putting up tent cities for the Vietnam refugees, that I was unable to pay a visit to this young lady for a couple of weeks.

I did however send her a dozen roses. When I finally got a day off, a Sunday if I recall, I jumped on a bus from Camp Pendleton and took the hour ride to San Diego and knocked at the young lady's door. A young gentleman from the Navy answered the door. This was definitely a case where the Marines were not first to land.


Not being a sore loser, I offered to buy some food and drinks for a barbecue that afternoon. As we were walking home from the grocery store, we ran into this young and beautiful lady. I had on my University of Kansas T-shirt that I had rescued from the banks of the Arkansas River. She mentioned that she was from Kansas City.

A conversation was started and since I had been the one to buy the food, I felt it would not be unfair for me to invite a guest, which I did. Little did I know that this attractive young black woman would become my wife -- now of 22 years. I also found out latter that she had been given half of the roses I had sent earlier.

Within a week we were both in love. Now in our case neither of our families was a problem as they both sides accepted our love and I don't think that at anytime either one of us felt a problem within the family. Where I think we have demonstrated interracial love then most and where the need was the most is in this small Georgia town [where] we now live.

We live in Mauk Georgia. Even at this date it is still a very racially segregated town. The high school here still holds a segregated prom. We have two adopted children, our son, 18, is bi-racial and our daughter, 16, is black. It funny how much one's children affects the parents social life, but we rarely interact on a social level with the white community and in general, even though I am white, I have felt more at ease in the black community.

I think we have demonstrated to many people, both black and white that an interracial love can be as strong as our as been and remains to this day.

I have met and talked to many folks around here who have never met an interracial couple. Added with the fact that we have been married for the last 22 years not many people can question our relationship.

We have faced some overt racism here. Just for example we have one neighbor who will call our children niggers and call me a nigger lover right to our face, but all and all, most people have not confronted us directly in a negative way. I also believe that most racism is a result of ignorance and fear.

When one is in an interracial relationship you are put into positions that you might not ever be in except for the fact that your significant other is a member of the another race. My wife Carroll has faced comments from the black side of the fence concerning selling out to the whites, while I might hear racist jokes, but only before they have met my wife.

We both have learned to handle these situations in our own way. I believe that how we respond directly adds or subtracts from the total of race relations in this country. We are both careful to not be pushed around, but also to not sink to the same level as those that hold racist ideas.

In a sense we are all ambassadors of our race, and each of us attempt to increase the understanding between races.

Semper Fi
Loving Jeter

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