Associate Professor Randle Pollard
delivered the second lecture in the Legal Perspectives in African American History lecture series sponsored by the Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
. Pollard spoke to around two-dozen students in the pit on the Harrisburg campus on Wednesday, February 9, 2011.
The hour-long lecture focused on interracial marriages. Professor Pollard explained the case of Loving v. Virginia, in which a Caucasian man and woman of African descent living in the Commonwealth of Virginia went out of state to the District of Columbia to get married because of the anti-miscegenation laws in Virginia. In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Due Process Clause..
Professor also played two clips from the movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
, starring Spencer Tracey and Sidney Poitier, to demonstrate what life was like in 1967. The first clip showed the father and the daughter’s husband arguing over interracial marriage and the problems that would occur as a result of the marriage.
The second clip showed a discussion of what would happen to the children born into an interracial marriage. In that scene, the husband states that his child will succeed and could be the next president regardless of his race. Professor Pollard indicated that he showed that specific scene to point out that our current president is from an interracial marriage.
A discussion followed, with Professor Pollard asking the students whether they knew of any interracial couples. Nearly everyone raised his or her hand. He pointed out that although interracial marriage is more common – it is still taboo in society. He then asked the students for their feedback.
“I’m glad that the Black Law Students Association sponsored this event,” said Professor Pollard, adding, “It is important to educate about our history because some of the same attitudes prevail but are just not as apparent.”
The final lecture in the series will take place on Wednesday, February 22nd in the Pit at 11:00 am with Professor Tonya Evans