Well before probably most people reading this were born, in 1953, Jet magazine, a magazine aimed at African Americans, asked the question “Do Japanese Women Make Better Wives?”. This was a time period following the Occupation of Japan after World War II and American servicemen, both black and white, were returning to the US with Japanese brides.

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Full text of Jet Magazine, November 12, 1953 article “Do Japanese Women Make Better Wives?”. A more readable view of the article can be found at this google link.

The article discusses how American women became jealous of the Japanese wives the American servicemen were bringing back to the US. It also discusses the cultural differences that Asian and Black couples had to work through. The last paragraph of the article is the most interesting comment to me:

Another husband praises his Japanese wife because she creates glamour instead of seeking it, is undemanding, finds beauty in every-day life, and has a sense of teamwork. “Between my wife and me”, says this husband, “there’s a deep feeling of belonging, a kind of friendship, almost a kinship, that I have seen in few American marriages”

Portrait of Thurgood Marshall with His Family
Thurgood Marshall stands with his family prior to being sworn in as the first black member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Left to right are his sister-in-law, Mrs. Sally Acoba; sons, Thurgood, Jr., and John, and wife, Cecilia.

thurgood marshall familyTwo years after the Jet Magazine article was published, in 1955 Thurgood Marshall, who would later become the first Black Supreme Court justice, married his second wife, Cecilia Suyat Marshall, Filipino American, and they had two sons together.  They were married for 38 years until his death in 1993.

Before becoming a judge, Marshall was a lawyer who was best known for his high success rate in arguing before the Supreme Court and for the victory in Brown v. Board of Education, a decision that desegregated public schools. He served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit after being appointed by President John F. Kennedy and then served as the Solicitor General after being appointed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. President Johnson nominated him to the United States Supreme Court in 1967.

james boggsjimmy_grace300_13196Another trailblazing Asian and Black couple is James Boggs, African American, and Grace Lee Boggs, Chinese American, who were married in 1953. James Boggs was an American political activist, auto worker and author. He is perhaps best known for authoring, “The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker’s Notebook” in 1963 and he was active in the radical wing of the civil rights movement. Grace is an American author, social activist, philosopher, and feminist. At the age of 95, she wrote her fifth book, “The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century”. Her life is the subject of the documentary film “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs” released in 2013, produced and directed by the American filmmaker Grace Lee. They were married for 40 years until James died in 1993, and Grace turned 100 on June 27, 2015. After 100 amazing years, Grace passed on October 5, 2015 – see more on James and Grace at The Profoundness of James Boggs and Grace Lee Boggs.

reginal lewis

Reginald Lewis, his wife Loida, and daughters, Leslie and Christina.
Reginald Lewis, his wife Loida, and daughters, Christina (L) and Leslie (R).

Another important historical Asian and Black couple is Reginald Lewis, African American, and his wife, Loida Nicolas Lewis, Filipino. They married in 1969 and had two daughters together.  Reginald was the first African American to build a billion dollar company, Beatrice Foods, which made him the richest African American in the US in the 1980s. He was named as one of the Forbes 400 Richest Americans in 1992. He was one of the first African American venture capitalists back in the 1980s and had perfected the merger and acquisition game. Unfortunately, he passed away at the age of 50 in 1993 from brain cancer. His wife, Loida, took over as CEO of his billion dollar company after his death and despite some doubters, she successfully ran the company for six years before selling it. Lewis’ biography “Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?” made the Bestseller list of Business Week when it was published in 1994.

While Asian and Black couples and Blasians are now starting to emerge as one of the fastest growing interracial combinations, these Asian and Black couples give us a very insightful look to the history of Blasian couples.

Feel free to discuss your comments below.

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