Michael O'Malley, Associate Professor of History and Art History, George Mason University
This is the marriage certificate of Professor O'Malley's great great grandfather. He was born in Ireland, but married in 1884 in Virginia to a Virginia native. Look closely at his "race"--and hers.
Here is a picture of the happy couple
The State of Virginia, in 1884, regarded these two people as "colored." In popular perceptions, that man looked like this:
Not quite white, not quite fully human.