In 1928, in America interracial marriage was against the law. Everyone knew this. The national prohibition on interracial marriages would not be overturned, until a 1967 landmark case, which went all the way to the Supreme Court. Loving v. Virginia, overturned U.S. state bans on interracial marriage. Consider if you will, that Loving v. Virginia was in 1967, so we can well imagine what 1928 must have been like for two people, in love, from different races. Other than the law, marriages of this sort not even considered legal in many places in America. There were very public and angry attitudes against interracial marriages. These attitudes came from both races. Both black and white were against interracial marriages. Most saw it as creating nothing but trouble and confusion, not only for the couple themselves, but for any children that might come along as well. Such were the attitudes of a bygone era.
But love, being what it universally is, a bond so very strong and powerful, sees no differences or barriers, and is willing to fight to overcome all obstacles, gave many couples of that era, the strength to oppose and ignore bigoted attitudes of the day.
One of Nassau’s most eligible bachelors visits America to take a course in philosophy at Saint John’s University
In 1927, at age just 29 years old, Etienne Dupuch, was one of the most eligible and successful young men in Nassau. Educated, travelled and accomplished Dupuch was not only a war veteran, but also the editor of a successful Bahamas based daily newspaper. To add to all of this, Mr. Dupuch was already an elected member of the Assembly.
When Mr. Dupuch travelled to Chicago, Illinois in 1927, he was feted as a successful editor of the Nassau Daily Tribune.
(The Pittsburgh Courier, Saturday, September 17, 1927)
Nassau’s most eligible married in America 1928
Just one year later in 1928, Etienne Dupuch had fallen in love with a 22 year old school teacher from Spangler Pennsylvania, Miss Marie A. Plouse. They were married in New York and when Mr. Dupuch returned Nassau, he brought his new wife with him.
The American press being what they were in 1927, carried the marriage announcement, in large bold lettering. Race of course, dominated the headline, and the story.
(New Castle Pennsylvania News, June 19, 1928)
A Life Most Extraordinary
The life of Etienne Dupuch (1899-1991) is one of the Bahamas’s most fascinating life stories. Dupuch introduced into the House of Assembly the first comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in the colony’s history. The legislation was aimed at outlawing the practice of racial discrimination in hotels, restaurants and other public places.
Apart from building an extraordinary newspaper and publishing legacy in the Bahamas, Dupuch was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), and was later knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He also received a papal knighthood from Pope Pius XII (Order of St Gregory the Great).
Sir Etienne and Lady Dupuch, the former Marie Plouse, were married for 63 years.