Loving is Never Wrong

Today is Loving Day, a special occasion celebrated in the interracial community commemorating Loving v. Virginia, the landmark Supreme Court case that struck down miscegenation laws in many (but not all) states.

Richard and Mildred Loving were an interracial couple living in Caroline County, Virginia. Richard, a white man, and Mildred, an African-American and Rappahannock Indian, had grown up together and married when Mrs. Loving was only 18. Because interracial marriage was illegal in Virginia, they went to Washington, DC to get married and returned home to live as husband and wife.

In 1959, local police in Caroline County entered their home while they were sleeping and charged them with miscegenation, aka “mixing races,” which was a crime in Virginia. They were each sentenced to one year in jail but the sentence was suspended for 25 years so long as they left Virginia. They moved to DC and lived there for about four years before they filed their case through the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Although the statute of limitations was found to have passed, the couple was successful in another lawsuit which ultimately went before the Supreme Court and was decided, 9-0, in their favor. This decision struck down Virginia’s miscegenation law in 1967, but it would be many more years before all miscegenation laws would be struck down.

Unfortunately, Mildred and Richard did not have the chance to live and long and happy life together. Richard was killed by a drunk driver in 1975. He and Mildred had three children. She never remarried and passed away in 2008.

It’s common at weddings to quote from Corinthians, but the example of Mildred and Richard Loving truly expresses the hope – the wish – the desire that love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

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