A Caribbean Coupling Beyond Black and White: The Interracial Marriage of Catherine and Edward Marcus Despard and its Implications for British Views on Race, Class, and Gender during the Age of Reform
*Designated as an Exemplary Master's Project for 2014-15British Army colonel, Edward Marcus Despard, and Catherine Despard, a woman from the Caribbean and most likely of African descent, were married some time during the late eighteenth century. Their marriage was quite unusual for its time, yet their union appears to have been successful and went unchallenged by the government and many individuals they encountered. This project explores the social and political environment that made their unlikely union possible and demonstrates how their interracial marriage serves as a marker of the more fluid and tolerant character of racial attitudes in the Age of Reform. An examination of the Despards’ political activity in London also offers insight into multiple social and political issues affecting Great Britain and its colonies during the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, including race, class, gender, freedom, and human rights.
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