interracial marriage

Pointed towards the sun.

I recently stumbled across Pointed Towards the Sun, a collection of stories about the immigrant experience published in 2018 by students and faculty of Brookdale Community College, Montclair, New Jersey. The section “Historical Research and Ancestry Studies” includes Nathalie Darden’s memoir about the triumphs and struggles of her grandparents, a French woman and an African-American man who met in Paris in the 1950s.

Nathalie Darden’s father’s name caught my eye — Charles A. Darden. And then she mentioned her great-uncle Walter T. Darden and great-grandfather Charles H. Darden. Which of C.H. Darden’s sons was Charles A. Darden’s father? Arthur N. Darden.


On 2 July 1925, Arthur Darden, 35, of Wilson, son of Charlie and Dianah Darden, married Olive Blanks, 21, of Wilson, daughter of J.B. and Susan Blanks, in Wilson. C.L. Darden applied for the license, and A.M.E. Zion minister J.E. Kennedy performed the ceremony in the presence of L.A. Moore, C.L. Darden, and V.L. Moore.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 109 Stantonsburg Street, Arthur Darden, 38, proprietor of undertaking environment; wife Olive, 21, public school teacher, born in South Carolina; son Charles R., 3; and roomer Estella Williamson, 17.

In the 1940 census of Bronx, New York: at 1324 Prospect Street, Olive Darden, 32, and son Charles, 13, both born in North Carolina.

In 1945, Charles Arthur Darden registered for the World War II draft in Queens, New York. Per his registration card, he was born 11 February 1927 in Wilson, N.C.; he lived at 167-08 111th Avenue, Jamaica, Queens, N.Y.; his contact was mother Olive Darden Edinboro; he was unemployed; and had a scar under his right eye.

White man marries negro.


Raleigh News & Observer, 5 April 1895.

In the 1880 census of Spring Hill, Wilson County: farmer Polly Proctor, 43, and her sons John W., 20, and Charly T., 12.

On 19 September 1894, John Proctor, 34, son of John and Polly Proctor, married Hattie Ayers, 20, daughter of Jesse and Elizabeth Ayers, in Wilson. Husband and wife were described as white.


However, in the 1880 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: 28 year-old farmer Jesse Ayers; Elizabeth, 28; Ida, 8; Harriet, 6; Howard, 5; and Hubbard, 2; all described as mulatto.

In the 1900 census, the family (with younger children Loutory, Addie, Alvester, and Betsey A. Ayers) is black, and Jesse Ayers and Elizabeth Taylor’s marriage license is recorded in the colored register. When their son Howard Ayers married Elizabeth Taylor, daughter of Patrick and Polly Taylor, on 19 September 1894, and their marriage license describes them as “mixed.” However, the marriage licenses of Jesse and Elizabeth’s children Herbert, Loutoria, Alvester and Addie describe them as white.

Elizabeth Ayers’ 4 April 1929 Wilson County death certificate describes her as white, as does Herbert Ayers’ 22 February 1957 Nash County certificate. Jesse and Elizabeth’s daughters Della Ayers Batts and Addie Ayers Collier also died as white women.

I have found no further record of  John and Harriet Ayers Proctor.