She was kicked out by her family for marrying a black man – now they are celebrating 70 years together

Last year, Jake and Mary Jacobs celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, marking a significant milestone in their journey together. Their enduring love story has triumphed over numerous challenges.

Mary, a white woman, and Jake, a black man, met in 1940s Britain, a time when interracial relationships were rare and often frowned upon. Despite living in a city, Jake was one of the few black men around.

It would have been easy for Mary to walk away, but she was deeply in love and determined to be with Jake, even after her father warned her against it.

“When I told my father I was going to marry Jake, he said, ‘If you marry that man, you will never set foot in this house again.’”

The couple met when Jake came over from Trinidad during the war. They attended the same technical college, where Mary was taking typing and shorthand lessons, and Jake was training with the Air Force.

Mary, who lived in Lancashire, and Jake began chatting, and she was impressed by his knowledge of Shakespeare. Jake and his friend invited Mary and her friend for a picnic, where they were seen by a lady who reported Mary to her father. Shocked, her father banned her from seeing Jake.

When Jake returned to Trinidad, they continued to write to each other. A few years later, he came back to the U.K. for better job opportunities and surprised Mary with a marriage proposal. She was 19 and accepted, but her family disapproved and threw her out.

“I left with only one small suitcase to my name. No family came to our registry office wedding in 1948.”

Mary said that while her father was horrified at the idea of her marrying a black man, she didn’t realize the rest of society felt the same way.

“The first years of our marriage in Birmingham were hell — I cried every day and barely ate. No one would speak to us, we couldn’t find anywhere to live because no one would rent to a black man, and we had no money.”

Even walking down the street together was difficult as people would point at them. Mary told the Daily Mail how challenging those early days were.

Mary became pregnant, and they looked forward to becoming parents, but at eight months, she gave birth to a stillborn child.

“It wasn’t related to the stress I was under, but it broke my heart, and we never had any more children,” she said.

Life improved as Mary worked her way up to assistant principal of a British school, and Jake secured a job with the Post Office. They made new friends, but Mary often felt the need to explain Jake’s race before introducing him to others.

“My father died when I was 30. Although we reconciled, he never approved of Jake,” she said.

Today, 84-year-old Mary and 89-year-old Jake live in Solihull, just south of Birmingham, and recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

Jake, reflecting on the past, says he has no regrets but tells young black people today that they can’t imagine what it was like for him in 1940s Britain.

‘Subjected to abuse every day’ “When I arrived in the U.K., I was subjected to abuse every day. Once, on a bus, a man rubbed his hands on my neck and said, ‘I wanted to see if the dirt would come off.’

“And back then, you couldn’t work in an office — because a black man in an office with all the white girls wasn’t considered safe.”

Despite all the hardships, prejudice, and abuse, the couple remains deeply in love and has no regrets about their marriage, enjoying over 70 years of wedded bliss.