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However, people who had less than one sixty-fourth part Indian and no African American heritage would still be considered white.
This exception catered to those elite Virginians who counted themselves as descendants of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. Douglas Smith has noted that the African American press "remained relatively quiet" about the bill.
In 1923, the Anglo-Saxon Clubs suggested that a new racial integrity bill be enacted, and the group's motivation, in part, was for the law to catch up with how government officials such as Plecker were already behaving with regard to race. In its original form, it required that all Virginians fill out a certificate of racial composition to be approved by the Bureau of Vital Statistics.
He did, however, note the ways in which the case suggested problems with the Racial Integrity Act.
The new version also allowed white people to have up to one-sixteenth "Indian blood." Finally, the burden of proof regarding the veracity of a person's racial certificate was placed not on the state but on the individual. Shields, determined that Connor was white but that Johns, in addition to being part white, was also part Indian and African American.
The Senate passed the modified bill on February 27 by a vote of 23 to 4. Byrd Sr., and twelve other senators abstained.) After voting down the earlier version on February 21, the House followed the Senate's lead, approving the bill on March 8 by a vote of 72 to 9. Lee Trinkle signed the Racial Integrity Act into law on March 20.. Citing the Racial Integrity Act, he refused to issue a license and Johns immediately sued in the Circuit Court of Rockbridge County.
Although nonmarital relationships were commonplace, interracial marriages that legally recognized any such relationship had been prohibited in Virginia since 1691, and declared "absolutely void" since 1849; still, whites, blacks, and Indians in Virginia sometimes married.
According to federal census reports, between 18 the number of mixed-race Virginians (or "mulattoes," as they were referred to in the census) increased from 122,441 to 222,910.