International couples rejected by society in the 1940s celebrate 73 years of relationship

Mary, 81, is married to Jake, 86, and lives in Solihull, West Midlands, England. By choice, they never had children.

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Mary was a former deputy director and Jack worked at the post office before retiring. She is white and her husband is black. The love cherished between them has always been “color blind,” as the retired woman puts it, but unfortunately not for her friends, acquaintances and family, who have been discriminating against the couple for years.

“When I told my father I was going to marry Jack, he replied, ‘If you marry that man, you will never be able to set foot in this house again,'” Mary recalls the Daily Mail.

“She was terrified that I would even consider marrying a black man, and I soon learned that most people feel the same way,” she said.

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The first years of Mary and Jack’s relationship in Birmingham were “hell,” said the retiree, who cried every day and just ate. “No one talks to us, we can’t find a place to stay because no one will rent a black man, and we had no money.”

The 1950s and subsequent decades were challenging. “People were pointing at us in the street. When I was young, at the age of eight months I gave birth to a stillborn son. It had nothing to do with the stress I was going through, but it broke my heart and we never had a baby again, “said Mary.

For her, it is relatively understandable that the younger generation does not understand the extreme prejudice she and her husband felt in the last century. “It’s important to remember that there were almost no black people in Britain in the 1940s,” he said, adding that racial discrimination was more direct and personal.

International couples who were rejected by society in the 1940s celebrated 73 years of relationship

Mary met Jack when he came from Trinidad and Tobago, where he was born, to live in Great Britain. Soon, he joined the Allies in World War II to defeat the Axis.

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“At that time we were studying in the same technical school. I was taking typing and shorthand lessons and he was sent there by the Air Force for training. He was with a group of friends and they called my friend and me to talk. We didn’t even know they spoke English, but Jack and I started talking. He quoted Shakespeare to me, which I liked. “

A few weeks later they were going on a picnic when they saw a woman passing by on a bicycle. “A white English woman was hit in the head by a black immigrant. After a while, this lady informed me to my father, who forbade me to see her again.

International couples rejected by society in the 1940s celebrate 73 years of relationship

Months later, Jack returned to Trinidad, but he and Mary exchanged letters in early 1948, when the young man was able to return to the United Kingdom, where he got a well-paying job.

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It was only a matter of time before he asked her out on a date. “When I was only 19 he asked me out of the blue. My dad pulled me out and I left with a small suitcase in my name. No family came to the registry office for our wedding in 1948, “Mary recalls.

Gradually life became more joyful. “I got a job as a teacher until I became a vice principal. First Jack worked in a factory, then in the post office. We’ve been friends slowly, but it was hard … I would tell new friends, ‘Look, I have to tell you this before I invite you to my house – my husband is black,’ “she lamented.

The former teacher’s father died when he was 30, and although they had already reunited, he never accepted Jake.

International couples rejected by society in the 1940s celebrate 73 years of relationship

“Today we have been married for 63 years (73 years of relationship) and we are still in love. I don’t regret for a moment marrying her, as much as we endured, ”Mary said.

“I consider myself very lucky to have met and married Mary, but it saddens me that we were not accepted by society at that time. Today I’m telling young blacks, ‘You never knew what it was like before,’ “Jake said.

“When I came to the UK, I was tortured every day. I was on the bus once and a man put his hand on my neck and said, ‘I wanted to see if the dirt would go up.’ And you couldn’t work in an office at that time – because a black man in an office is not considered safe with all white girls. “

“I am glad to know that this dark past is behind us and we are honored today,” Jake concluded.

Source: Upsocl
Photo: Nick Holt

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