Author: Walter A. Plecker


Surnames, by Counties and Cities, of Mixed Negroid Virginia Families Striving to Pass as “Indian” or White by Walter A. Plecker (ca. 1943)

Walter Plecker, Virginia’s registrar of vital statistics, compiled this list of the surnames of families he believed were Black and misidentifying themselves as white or Indian to distribute to public health personnel. This was part of Plecker and the state’s attempts to eliminate documentary records of Virginia Indians’ existence. These actions are known as the Paper Genocide and affected tribal communities’ efforts for federal recognition into the twenty-first century.


Letter from Walter A. Plecker to Turner McDowell (September 27, 1937)

In a letter to Turner McDowell, clerk of the Circuit Court in Botetourt County, Walter A. Plecker, the state registrar of vital statistics, considers the legality of the marriage between Grace Mohler and Samuel Christian Branham. The Racial Integrity Act of 1924 prohibited marriage between whites and non-whites. A court later ruled that Branham was a “Negro” and ordered him “never again to live with” his wife.