Mixed Race Marriage: The Hidden Flower by Pearl S. Buck


I found this old book of my mother’s on this snowed in morning, The Hidden Flower, by Pearl S. Buck. Published in 1952, the year my parents married, The Hidden Flower is about a young interacial couple who fall in love on the heels of the second world war. She is the daughter of a repatriated Japanese physician who left America rather than be confined to a concentration camp. He is a young American soldier, who inherits his family’s estate in Virginia, one of the many states with anti miscegenation laws. The story that follows, how their marriage evolves and how their relationship is affected by the harsh atmosphere of the times is profound and touching. At one point, the young bride reflects on the destiny of her unborn child: You belong to two countries, and yet have no place to welcome you, no place to lay your head. 

The surprising conclusion is hopeful and somewhat utopian for the times. I respect that Buck was writing about these issues with such passion –  providing a literary forerunner of the civil rights movement. The fact that my mother loved this author and had this book in her collection gives me a little window into her thoughts and how she must have felt as a woman from Kansas just married to a man from Shanghai, at a time when their union was illegal in at least sixteen states.  Anti miscegenation laws were declared unconstitutional in 1967 – when my sister was twelve and I was five.

A shout out to all the “world babies” out there!

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About reneetamara

Writing about death, mental illness, spirituality, art and perfume. Because beauty feeds the soul, and love is beyond what we think.

4 responses to “Mixed Race Marriage: The Hidden Flower by Pearl S. Buck”

  1. Joy Lupo says :

    I have this book on my shelf, along with a couple more by Buck. Love it. Happy Anniversary to your parents!
    Miss you!

  2. Mylinh Shattan says :

    Thank you for this. The book reached this world child too. I’m glad to see how much has changed since then. I wrote about my experience with this book, http://treehouseletter.com/2015/08/22/interracial-love-the-world-child-and-pearl-buck/

    • reneetamara says :

      I’m so glad you found me on WordPress and what a coincidence that this book touched both of our lives, hearts, and experience. I can relate to the both the pain and the hopefulness of being ” a child of the world” on the bright side of the perspective, and being scorned as the “dust of life” (cringing as I write this) , on the darker side of the human heart. Sometimes I felt displaced, where is my tribe? And I thought of my Caucasian mom and Chinese dad, marrying in 1952, when this book was written, felons in a number of the backward, slow to progress states. I have searched to know what they had in common, and for me, the essence is the open mindedness, open hearted news and global thinking that brought them together. What a wonderful legacy, after all, for us “children of the world.” Now to live up to it!

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