Publisher: University of Virginia Special Collections
Bureau of Vital Statistics letter from Walter A. Plecker
Typed reproduction of letters to Mrs. Robert Cheatham and Mrs. Mary Gildon shared by State Registrar W. A. Plecker with John Powell, April 30, 1924. In the letters, Plecker, head of Virginia's Bureau of Vital Statistics, accuses Cheatham of lying about the precise racial makeup of her child. The midwife at the birth had stated that both the mother and father were white, but Plecker claims that he has evidence from the health department in Lynchburg that the infant's father was actually African American. He also issues a stern warning to Gildon that it is a "penitentiary offense" to state that "a child is white when it is colored."