Last year, Jake and Mary Jacobs celebrated 70 years of blissful marriage, but they overcame all obstacles to reach this significant marital milestone.
In 1940s Britain, Mary, a white woman, met Jake, a black guy. Jake was one of the few black men living in a metropolis at the time.
Mary might have left with ease, but she was in love and would stop at nothing to be with her partner—even if it meant going against her father’s wishes.
“My father told me that if I married Jake, I would never set foot in this house again,” when I told him I was getting married to Jake.
Jake, Mary, and JacobsApril of 1948
The Homemade Home Posted on Monday, September 30, 2019
The pair first met at the same technical school where Mary was taking typing and shorthand classes and Jake was undergoing Air Force training, after he arrived here from Trinidad during the war.
Jake struck up a conversation with Mary, who was living in Lancashire at the time, and she was impressed by his knowledge of Shakespeare.
Mary and her buddy were out for a picnic when he and his companion were observed by a passing woman. Startled to see two English girls talking to black men, the woman reported Mary to her father. Mary’s father, taken aback, banned her from ever seeing him again.
They corresponded when Jake got back to Trinidad, and a few years later, he relocated to the UK in search of higher-paying work.
When Mary was nineteen, Jake asked her to marry him. She accepted, but her family disowned her once she told them.
“When I left, I only had one little suitcase with me.” No family members were present during our 1948 registrar office wedding.
Mary was unaware that the majority of society shared her father’s horror at her contemplation of marrying a black man.
“I cried every day and ate very little during the first years of our marriage in Birmingham,” the speaker said. We had no money, no one spoke to us, and we had trouble finding housing since no one would rent to a black man.
Mary told the Daily Mail that as they strolled along the street together, people would point at them.
When Mary found out she was pregnant, the couple was excited about the possibility of having a child, but at eight months, the baby was stillborn.
She said, “It broke my heart, and we never had any more children. It wasn’t related to the stress I was under.”
Their situation did improve when Mary found employment as a teacher and eventually rose to the post of assistant principle at a British school and Jake got hired by the Post Office. They made new friends, but Mary said she was forced to tell people her husband was black before she even introduced them.
She continued, “My father never did approve of Jake, even though we were reconciled by the time he passed away when I was 30.
Living in Solihull, a little town south of Birmingham, Mary,84, and Jake,89, recently marked their 70th wedding anniversary.
While Jake claims he has no regrets, he notes that young black children today have no idea what it was like for him growing up in 1940s Britain.
“I receive abuse on a daily basis.”After I arrived in the UK, I endured mistreatment every day. Once, while I was crossing a bus, a man touched my neck with his hands and said, “I wanted to see if the dirt would come off.”
“And you couldn’t work in an office back then because it wasn’t considered safe for a black man to be in an office with all the white girls.”
After nearly 70 years of blissful marriage, the couple is still incredibly in love and has no regrets about being married, despite the challenges, prejudice, and abuse.
They are an amazing inspiration, and I hope they