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As a survivor of a shipwreck off the Yucatan coast, Gonzalo Guerrero found himself held captive by the Maya.
Desperate to avoid being killed, he successfully sought to learn his captors’ language and customs.
Although such laws officially remained on the books in several states, the Lovings’ landmark victory rendered them effectively unenforceable, ensuring nobody else would have to endure the same treatment.
The last law officially prohibiting interracial marriage was repealed in Alabama in 2000.
With Bahá’í leader Abdu’l-Bahá declaring his staunch support for interracial marriages, Louis and Louisa were married in 1912 in New York, becoming the first interracial Bahá’í couple.
Louis Gregory became a strong advocate for racial unity in both the United States as well as within the Bahá’í community; his most significant expression of the teachings of his faith come from his marriage.
Despite countless obstacles, the couple remained married for almost 40 years, until Louis Gregory’s death in 1951The marriage and divorce trial of Kip Rhinelander and Alice Jones brought the racial tensions of a nation to court, examining how a person is labeled as “colored” and “white” in legal terms.
As he gained acceptance into the culture, he taught Spanish combat tactics to the Maya, which are said to have allowed them to drive out the conquistadors.
Guerrero himself became a highly respected figure in Mayan society, marrying a princess named Zazil Ha and being given the temples of Ichpaatún, north of Chetumal.
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He was adopted by a French priest and later traveled to France with Bishop Artus de Lionne.