The “Loving” side of the U.S. Supreme Court case consisted of Mildred and Richard Loving. They first met when she was 11 and he was 17. He was a family friend and over the years they started courting. After she became pregnant, they got married in Washington in 1958, when she was 18. Reportedly, Mildred didn’t realize interracial marriage was illegal, and they were arrested a few weeks after they returned to their hometown north of Richmond. They pleaded guilty to charges of “cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth,” and avoided jail time by agreeing to leave Virginia. They moved to Washington, D.C. and began legal action by writing to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy referred the case to the American Civil Liberties Union. After the Warren Court unanimously ruled in favor of the young couple, they returned to Virginia, where they lived with their three children. Mildred Loving died May 5, 2008 at the age of 68. Richard Loving died about thirty-three years earlier in a car accident. Each June 12, the anniversary of the ruling, Loving Day events around the country mark the advances of mixed-race couples. (from Wikipedia)
From the original judge’s decision: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”
From my honors thesis:
Anti-miscegination laws have existed in the U.S. as early as 1641, and were declared unconstitutional in 1967. My father, the child of a Black and Native American maid and a Spanish-Mexican immigrant, was seventeen. My mother, the child of a Japanese (Okinawa) immigrant and a Black and Native American Army serviceman, was thirteen.
Officially, the policy demanding mixed race children claim the race of the non-white parent was abolished in 1989-incidentally, the year I was born. In practice, as well as in the minds of some people however, the one-drop rule still exists, as do rules of blood quantum (in which members to a specific group must have above a certain amount of racial heritage to qualify as a member of said group).
In the year 2000, the U.S. Census bureau finally allowed people to check than more than one box pertaining to race, thereby officially recognizing multiracial individuals. Seven million people (2.4% of U.S. population) identified as mixed race that year.
I was eleven years old at the time, and remember how excited my parents were to legally check multiple boxes for both themselves and their children. My parents are proud of their mixed heritage, and would either rotate which race they checked each year or check all their boxes whether it was legal or not.
(a selection from) Loving for All
Prepared for Delivery on June 12, 2007, The 40th Anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia Announcement
By Mildred Loving
My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people civil rights.
I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”
Thank you, Loving family- for making our family legalTo learn more, or figure out how you can hold your own Loving Day celebration, please visit Lovingday.org