According to Our Hearts

Rhinelander v. Rhinelander and the Law of the Multiracial Family

Angela Onwuachi-Willig

View Inside Price: $45.00


June 25, 2013
344 pages, 6-1/8 x 9-1/4
30 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300166828
Cloth

This landmark book looks at what it means to be a multiracial couple in the United States today. According to Our Hearts begins with a look back at a 1925 case in which a two-month marriage ends with a man suing his wife for misrepresentation of her race, and shows how our society has yet to come to terms with interracial marriage. Angela Onwuachi-Willig examines the issue by drawing from a variety of sources, including her own experiences. She argues that housing law, family law, and employment law fail, in important ways, to protect multiracial couples. In a society in which marriage is used to give, withhold, and take away status—in the workplace and elsewhere—she says interracial couples are at a disadvantage, which is only exacerbated by current law.

Angela Onwuachi-Willig is the Charles M. and Marion J. Kierscht Professor of Law at the University of Iowa. Her articles have appeared in many prestigious law journals and she has been a nominee for the Iowa Supreme Court. She lives in Grinnell, IA.

"Once you start reading According to Our Hearts, you will not be able to put it down. The beautifully-written book reads like a novel and tells the love story of the rise and fall of the marriage of Alice Jones and Leonard Kip Rhinelander, which ends with a stunning annulment trial. In the first full exploration of what she calls 'the law of the multiracial family,' Angela Onwuachi-Willig skillfully reveals what Alice and Leonard's doomed marriage reveals about race, class, family, and civil rights in the United States. The book is essential reading for all!"—Kevin R. Johnson, author of  How Did You Get to Be Mexican? A White/Brown Man’s Search for Identity

"According to Our Hearts is a fascinating—and sobering—account of interracial relationships in America. Onwauchi-Willig persuasively argues that the “mono-racial” family remains the social and legal standard by which all others are measured. Anyone interested in race, gender and the law will find the book an absorbing and enlightening read."—Tomiko Brown-Nagin, author of Bancroft-Prizing Winning Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement

According to Our Hearts is a courageous and insightful inquiry into the intersection of race and romance.  At once scholarly and personal, the book stimulates the mind and, true to its title, the heart. This book sheds fresh light on a long ago legal controversy about race and marriage and then highlights the extent to which our society continues to struggle with the reality of love across the color line. Rarely has anyone combined the intimate and the academic so well.”—Ralph Richard Banks, author of Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone

“Onwuachi-Willig has penned a wonderful book on the historical complexities of what it means to be a multiracial couple in the U.S. . . . an essential book for anyone interested in how race has been and continues to be defined.”—Choice