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But when they started dating, they were an unusual pair. It was the late 1960s in Tennessee, and interracial marriage had just become legal in the South.This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court case, , that opened the door for interracial couples to marry in the South.It’s a loose confederation, says Walker, with churches geographically scattered in places including Louisiana, Indiana and Arizona.Branham is extolled as an apostle himself, practically a god, in these churches.It’s a way of marginalizing people,” says Walker, who adds that he’s spoken with U. pastors in Branham’s camp who don’t appear to be racist.It’s hard to know exactly how many Branham-allied U. churches there are, since there is no central denomination — Branham preached against it — or uniting authority.Leroy was the pastor at the church of Gloria's mother in Chattanooga. She saw him smoking outside after his sermon, surrounded by women and thought he was out of her league. An interracial couple was an unusual sight in Chattanooga, and people stared at them.Gloria and Leroy met again a couple of years later when Gloria’s sister was very ill. Gloria remembers all the details — Leroy’s blue jeans and blue sweater, matching his blue eyes. By this point, it was the late 1960s, and segregation was illegal.

Is anyone in the same situation as me (single that dates interracially) that lives in Memphis that can give me the real inside scoop?? I'm afraid I can only give you a partial answer in that I have a college age son, white, who dated an interracial young woman for over a year.They got to know each other during hospital visits. Still, society had it’s own rules, and Gloria and Leroy were challenging them.A Shared History Of Activism Leroy, who had grown up in California, took a bus to Alabama in 1965 and marched with Martin Luther King Jr. The experience shaped him so much, that he applied to be the pastor of a black Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga. Around the time she and Leroy met, she lost her job trying to unionize the nurses at the hospital where she worked.” As for the black man who has children with a white woman: “He don’t want them to look like him, so he’ll marry with another.” Lest this sound racist, Reagan adds helpfully, “Some of the finest people I ever met in my life was some of them colored people.” But this sermon isn’t from the bad old times; it was recorded just last year in Reagan’s 600-member Johnson City, Tenn., church. They may not all embrace the racial separation extolled by Reagan, but the Branham theology invites racism, says James Walker, president of The Watchman Fellowship, an Arlington, Texas, evangelical ministry that researches cults and new religious movements. He preached that original sin stemmed not from Eve biting the fruit and gaining knowledge but, instead, from her sexual intercourse with the serpent, which resulted in the birth of Cain.What’s more, the pastor is not unique in translating the theology of William Branham, a breakaway Pentecostal religious leader, into a “no-exceptions” Biblical ban on interracial marriage. This led, through the bloodline of Cain, Noah and Ham, to a race of human beings who were descended from the evil serpent. Actually, Branham never quite said, notes Walker, author of The Concise Guide to Today’s Religions and Spirituality (Harvest House).As far as I'm aware they never encountered any stares, remarks, or other negative attitudes anywhere in Memphis they went. I also live inside the city limits and encounter mixed race couples frequently, although, thinking about it, I recall most of those couples tend to be white men with black or interracial women.