It says a great deal about the acceptance of interracial marriage in America that you don’t much hear the phrase “interracial marriage” itself anymore: in much of the country, such unions have become so common as not to merit their own intellectual category. But what about elderly interracial newlyweds? That much more demographically unusual phenomenon — or rather, the actual nonagenarian, recently married interracial couple of Edith Hill and Eddie Harrison — provides the subject for Laura Checkoway’s short documentary Edith+Eddie, which you can watch free on Topic.com.
“Hill was 96 and Harrison 95 years old when they were married, and the film bills the two as ‘America’s oldest interracial newlyweds’ at the time of their union in 2014,” writes the Hollywood Reporter‘s Chris Gardner in an article on the film’s having been produced by Cher.
But “what could’ve been a heart-warming love story turned into something tragic as the two were separated by Hill’s family in a bitter family feud,” a source of much of the considerable drama in the movie’s 30 minutes. “The couple had been sharing Hill’s Virginia home until one of her daughters forcibly moved her to Florida, separating the couple.”
Alas, Harrison died during a bout of influenza just three months later. “He lived for her, and she lived for him. It’s the love story of the century,” said Hill’s daughter, quoted in a Guardian article that describes how “their marriage was problematic because Hill has been declared legally incapacitated for several years.” Another daughter “contested the marriage, saying it would complicate the eventual distribution of Hill’s estate. But Hill and Harrison said they wanted to stay together.” And given all they’d lived through — “the two longtime Virginians would not have been allowed to marry if they had met in their 20s, 30s or 40s under state law at the time” — one easily understands why.
Stream Edith+Eddie for free on Topic.com.
Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.