Sunday, February 2, 2014

Richard and Mildred Loving

  Richard and Mildred Loving met each other in Central Point Virginia when he was 17 and she was 11. In 1958 Mildred was 18, and pregnant with Richard's baby and they decided to get married. There was a law which dated back to 1924 that was called the Virginia Racial Integrity Act. It prevented whites and blacks from marrying each other and many other states had similar laws. The couple traveled to Washington D.C. to get married where interracial marriage was legal. They returned however to live in their home in Virginia. The local Sheriff found out about the marriage and with two deputies stormed into the Loving's bedroom in the middle of the night shouting "Who is this woman you're sleeping with"? Mildred replied "I'm his wife". Mildred pointed out their marriage certificate hanging on the wall. "That's no good here" the sheriff coldly replied. They were both arrested. Richard spent one night in jail and the pregnant Mildred spent several days. They were sentenced to one year in jail but their sentence was suspended with the provision that they leave the state. The judge Leon M. Brazile said "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". 

  They moved to Washington D.C. where they eventually had three children together. Separately they would return to Virginia to visit family but never together. In 1963 they decided that they had had enough of this treatment. The couple appealed to attorney general Robert Kennedy for help. Kennedy referred them to the A.C.L.U. who filed a lawsuit on their behalf. The A.C.L.U. took the case before the Virginia Supreme Court but the court upheld the original conviction. The case was appealed to the United States Supreme Court on June 12, 1967 and the Loving's won their case with a unanimous decision. The court ruled Virginia's miscegenation law unconstitutional. The Loving's were finally able to return home and raise their children. In 1975 the Loving's were hit by a drunk driver killing Richard and seriously injuring Mildred, which cost her the sight in one eye. She would die of pneumonia on May 2, 2008. A couple of movies have been made about them and there is an unofficial holiday dedicated to them on June 12, called "Loving Day" in Virginia. Many people have tried to compare the issue of interracial marriage to that of same sex marriage. If I were black or involved in an interracial relationship I would be insulted by that comparison. Until it can be proven that one is born a homosexual I believe comparing the two issues are like comparing apples and oranges. The fact that there are so many bi-racial couples today is evidence to me of how far we have come as a society in regards to race.
Richard and Mildred with their children

The Loving's grandson with his children

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