White Woman Refuses to Listen to Dad After He Forbid Her From Marrying a Black Man – 60 Years Later, They’re Still Together
Leon Watson and Rosina Rodriquez faced many obstacles to be together.
When Leon Watson and Rosina Rodriquez met in 1949, they knew they had a connection that went beyond their physical appearances.
Unfortunately, the rest of the world didn’t see it that way. But the pair stuck together despite it all, becoming one of the oldest couples in the U.S.
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Watson and Rodriquez went on their first date in 1949; they were nervous about walking into the movie theatre together.
He was a Black man from Mississippi who had joined the United States Marine Corps and served as a scoutmaster. She grew up in Mexico and had fair skin. When people saw them together, it made them uncomfortable.
So on that date, Rodriquez went in first and took her seat at the cinema before he followed and sat beside her. As their relationship progressed, they could feel people looking at and judging them, but that didn’t break their bond — it just made them more selective about where they hung out.
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Typically, that meant spending their time with mutual friends who, like them, worked to raise awareness about social issues. The groups would talk about rights and equality, but they would also throw epic dance parties where the couple really bonded.
Eventually, according to a profile in the New York Times, it was inevitable, and Watson got down on one knee to propose. Naturally, she said yes.
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When Rodriquez’s father heard his daughter planned to marry, he traveled from New Mexico to speak with her in person. He wanted her to know it wasn’t a good decision and that her life would be hard. She wasn’t having any of it.
According to the Times, she had interracial friends who had married and were living their best lives. So she wasn’t about to change her mind about the man she loved.
In 1950 the pair tied their knot in Oakland, California. Interracial marriages had been legalized in the state several years earlier, in 1943. Still, that didn’t stop people from making judgments about the couple.
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When they moved into their first home together, they noticed many white families started leaving the neighborhood. It made Rodriquez uncomfortable to tell her work that she had married a Black man; she was scared they would judge her or find a way to fire her.
“I didn’t want to be rejected,” she said.
As it turned out, she didn’t need to worry. One day she could no longer hide the truth when their roof needed to be fixed, so she asked her boss for help. He came over, and she kept her job. Her colleagues never even brought it up.
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Watson and Rodriquez had three children together, José, Jorge, and Lucia. They never discussed racial differences with their kids, and although they had some moments, the trio rarely faced discrimination at their school because the kids there were from all kinds of different backgrounds.
The children were proud of their heritage, and when José was old enough to drive, he even commissioned a special license plate: “1BLACKMEX.”
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In April 2020, Watson and Rodriquez were one of the oldest interracial couples in America. Then, in April of that year, Watson passed away. He left behind his wife, his children, nine grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
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It’s hard to imagine a couple going through so much these days, yet discrimination, racism, and prejudice are everywhere.
That’s why we need stories like these that remind us how love is love, and if you find your person in life, that’s a lucky thing indeed. It can be challenging and unfair, but focusing on that love and tuning out the hate is the best approach for a happy and fulfilled life.
Watson and Rodriquez knew that, so they focused on the positive and tried to move past the hardships — as hard as some of them were.
Their story gives us hope, but it also reminds us why it’s so important to try and unlearn any of our own harmful behaviors and to stop judging others for how they choose to live their lives.