The brave American couples who refused to let prejudice tear them apart - decades before laws prohibiting interracial marriages were finally banned (17 Pics)

These are the incredible images of interracial couples in the 19th century - at a time when mixed-race marriage was either taboo or simply prohibited by law.
Posing together proudly these extraordinary photos provide a rare glimpse into some of the mixed-race couples in the 1800s and early 1900s, who didn't let the society's prejudices determine their life decisions. 

Jack Johnson and his wife Etta Terry Duryea, January 27, 1910. Jack was a successful boxer and a performer for theatre companies. The Jack-of-all-trades was married three times, each time to a white woman

Louis Gregory and Louisa Mathews Gregory. American man Louis Gregory and British women Louisa Mathews met while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Egypt back in 1911

Gladys (Emery) Aoki and Gunjiro Aoki, March 1909. Gunjiro was a Japanese American whilst Gladys was Caucasian. The couple wed in Seattle on March 27, 1909, after traveling from California and Oregon, which prohibited mixed-race marriages and declined to issue them a license

Charles Meehan, a white Irishman and a Hester Meehan, who was born in Canada. A family historian said: 'For Charles, it was just a natural thing to marry this woman who racially wasn't the same as him but in every other way was the love of his life'. Charles and Hester were born in 1856, three months apart. They were married in Canada, where interracial marriage was legal though frowned upon. But for reasons that are unclear, they later headed south to Nebraska with three children in tow.

An unidentified interracial couple are seen posing happily on their wedding day  

A Chinese man sits alongside his wife in the 1900s. They are both proudly standing in traditional wear 

This couple from South Texas pose together for a photo taken in 1900. This couple refused to allow the prejudice of society to keep them from being together 

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor with his wife Jessie Walmisley and their two children. He was an English composer and conductor of mixed-race heritage and Jessie with an Englishwoman

This Edwardian couple smile as they pose together on their wedding day in the 1900s

George Stevens born in Mexico and whose mother was Spanish came to Utah in 1860 where he met Lucinda Vilate Flake at a sqaure dance. In 1872 the pair married but astonishingly just sixteen years later, such a union between the two races would be against Utah law

Mere and Alexander Cowan with baby Pita, New Zealand, 1870. Intermarriage between Maori and Pakeha (non-Maori, usually of British ethnic origin) was common from the early days of European settlement in New Zealand. The government encouraged intermarriage, which was seen as a means of civilizing Maori. However, many people disapproved of intermarriage

Journalist George Schuyler and wife Josephine Cogdell, who was a performer sit at the table with their daughter

An unknown couple stand together in unity. It was believed to be 1910 and taken in America

The identity of these lovers remains to be unknown, yet the photo is believed to have been taken during the 1900s 

Joseph Phillippe Lemercier Laroche with his wife Juliette and and their two children Marie and Louise. Joseph studied in France where he became an engineer but was unable to get work because of a racist society. Joseph was one of the fatalities of the Titanic

Elizabeth Taylor from South Shields, Tyneside and husband Muhammed Hasan, a Yemeni national. It's believed the pair married in the 1920s at a time when disapproval would have been high amongst the British public

Pictured again, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's wife Jessie Walmisley and their two children
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