I love exploring tales of forbidden love, and one of the
most interesting I've ever read about was that of Clarence King and Ada
Copeland. Their story is told in Martha A. Sandweiss's book, Passing
Clarence King is a hero of nineteenth century western history. He was also a brilliant scientist, best-selling author and architect of the great surveys that mapped the West after the Civil War. Secretary of State John Hay declared King “the best and brightest of his generation.”
However, King hid a secret from his friends, as well as the prominent Newport family from which he hailed: He lived a double life. For thirteen years King was known as a celebrated white explorer, geologist and writer. But he was also known as James Todd, a black Pullman porter and steel worker.
The fair skinned blue-eyed son born to a wealthy China trader passed across the color line. This was not the usual case of a black man passing as white--but a white man passing as black! And he didn't reveal his secret to his black common-law wife, Ada Copeland, until his dying day.
Why did King do this? To be with the woman he loved. To marry Ada publicly, as the white man Clarence King, would have scandalized him and destroyed his career.
Passing Strange is a fascinating account of a sacrifice made for love. If you like history, romance and forbidden love stories, then you'll enjoy Passing Strange!
Can you share a rather strange love story you've heard about?
Thanks for visiting and have a great week!