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!