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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:'A Fundamental Human Right'? Mixed-Race Marriage and the Meaning of Rights in the Postwar British Commonwealth
Authors:Piccini, Jon
Money, Duncan
Year:2021
Periodical:Comparative Studies in Society and History (ISSN 0010-4175)
Volume:63
Issue:3
Pages:655-684
Language:English
Geographic terms:Botswana
Australia
Subjects:marriage
mixed marriage
race relations
human rights
Commonwealth
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0010417521000177
Abstract:This article explores the removal or exclusion in the late 1940s of people in interracial marriages from two corners of the newly formed Commonwealth of Nations, Australia and Britain's southern African colonies. The stories of Ruth and Sereste Khama, exiled from colonial Botswana, and those of Chinese refugees threatened with deportation and separation from their white Australian wives, reveal how legal rearticulations in the immediate postwar era created new, if quixotic, points of opposition for ordinary people to make their voices heard. As the British Empire became the Commonwealth, codifying the freedoms of the imperial subject, and ideas of universal human rights 'irrespective of race, color, or creed' slowly emerged, and claims of rights long denied seemed to take on a renewed meaning.
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