Jamaal Allan is a teacher in Des Moines, Iowa. His name has taken him on a lifelong odyssey of racial encounters. Courtesy of Jamaal Allan hide caption

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6 Words: 'My Name Is Jamaal ... I'm White'

Jamaal Allan is a high school teacher in Des Moines, Iowa. People make assumptions based on his name alone, and that's taken him on a lifelong odyssey of racial encounters.

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Marc Quarles, his wife, Claudia Paul, and their children, Joshua and Danielle, live in an affluent, predominantly white neighborhood in California. Quarles says his neighbors treat him differently when his children aren't around. Courtesy of Marc Quarles hide caption

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Waverly Adcock, a sergeant and founder of the West Augusta Guard, prepares his company for inspection and battle at a Civil War re-enactment in Virginia. Sara Smith, whose great-great-grandfather was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg, holds the Confederate battle flag. Courtesy of Jesse Dukes hide caption

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Carol Zachary's grandfather, Herbert Fleming, a county auditor, was required to attend Montana's first legal triple-hanging in a barn in Meagher County, Mont., in 1917. Fleming was one of approximately 60 witnesses that day. Courtesy of Carol Zachary hide caption

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Actors John Kerr and France Nuyen in a scene from the 1958 film South Pacific. The interracial romance between the onstage pair unsettled some audiences. 20th Century Fox/Getty Images hide caption

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The student population at D'Leisha Dent's high school, Central High in Tuscaloosa, Ala., is almost entirely African-American. Dent says she and her peers wish they had more opportunities to interact with white students. Maisie Crow hide caption

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Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor play Patsey and Solomon, two slaves on a Louisiana plantation, in 12 Years a Slave. Francois Duhamel/Fox Searchlight Pictures hide caption

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"I have this day granted bargained and sold and by these present do grant bargain and sell unto the said Edward Clegg a Certain Mulatto Girl named Harriet aged about eight years. Slave for life, and sound in body and mind, and the title to said Girl I do hereby warrant and will forever defend." Courtesy of Todd Perry hide caption

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"Michael Goings, a man of colour personally appearing in Court and producing satisfactory evidence of his freedom. It is ordered that the following be entered as his Register. To wit, aged 23 years 5 feet 11 1/2 inches high of light complexion. No scars no marks perceivable all of which is ordered to be certified." Courtesy of Robert Goins hide caption

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Melanie Vanderlipe Ramil with her grandmother, who taught her to make the Filipino dish lumpia, in 2009. Courtesy of Melanie Vanderlipe Ramil hide caption

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Alex Sugiura was featured, along with his brother and other mixed-race Americans, in the 125th anniversary issue of National Geographic Magazine in October. The brothers are of Japanese and Eastern European descent, but people often mistake Alex for Hispanic. Martin Schoeller/National Geographic hide caption

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Wilma Stordahl with her sons (from left) Kevin, Kazon and Kenneth at Kazon's high school graduation. "We think of Norwegians as being tall and blond and blue-eyed," Stordahl says. "My sons are tall — but they're not blond and blue-eyed." Courtesy of Wilma Stordahl hide caption

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All Washington, D.C., liquor stores were closed on Aug. 28, 1963. While Maury Landsman's parents, who owned a liquor store, stayed home that day, he was determined to participate in the march. Charles Del Vecchio/The Washington Post/Getty Images hide caption

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Clarence B. Jones, legal adviser to Martin Luther King Jr., takes notes behind King at a press conference regarding in Birmingham, Ala., in February 1963. Ernst Haas/Getty Images hide caption

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Clarence B. Jones this month in Palo Alto, Calif. As Martin Luther King Jr.'s attorney and adviser, Jones contributed to many of King's speeches, including his famous speech at the March on Washington in 1963. Norbert von der Groeben/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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Joseph Burden (third row, third from right) with his graduating class at Washington, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department training academy in 1960. Every officer on the force was required to work the day of the March on Washington. Courtesy of Joseph Burden hide caption

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Civil rights activist William Moore made several one-man marches for racial equality. In April 1963, he was killed during a march from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Jackson, Miss. Baltimore Sun hide caption

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Robert Avery has been a councilman in his hometown of Gadsden, Ala., for almost three decades. As a teen, he and two friends hitchhiked to the nation's capital, where they made signs for the March on Washington. Erica Yoon/NPR hide caption

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A newspaper clipping from The Cincinnati Herald on Sept. 14, 1963, included a picture of Jack Hansan and other members of the Cincinnati delegation. Courtesy of Jack Hansan hide caption

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Caryn Lantz and her husband Chuck were surprised to learn that costs associated with adopting black children were much lower than for white or mixed race children. They ultimately went with an adoption in which the fee was based on their income, not skin color. Courtesy of Caryn Lantz hide caption

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Alabama Gov. George Wallace (right) blocks the door of the the Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on June 11, 1963. Wallace, who had vowed to prevent integration of the campus, gave way to federal troops. AP hide caption

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Elysha O'Brien and her husband, Michael, with their sons. Elysha never learned Spanish but is determined that her children will. Courtesy of the O'Brien family hide caption

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Dave Kung with wife Sarah Tyson (left), stepson Cy Tyson-Brown and parents Sonja and George Kung. Courtesy of Dave Kung hide caption

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