Ms. Loving Dies at 68
Mildred Loving married her husband, Richard, in 1958. The were an interracial couple. When they moved back to their hometown in Virginia, they were arrested within weeks for offending the peace and dignity of the Virginia Commonwealth.
The judge made the following statement (hat tip Positive Liberty):
“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.”
To avoid incarceration their sentence required that they leave Virginia for 25 years. They moved to DC and got a lawyer. In 1967 (the year I was born) the Supreme Court made a decision in the Loving’s favor that blew all of the laws forbidding a white person from marrying a black person off of the books in states that still had them (I think about seventeen did).
Last year, on the fortieth anniversary of Loving Vs. Virginia, Mildred Loving had this to say:
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.
I hope that last bit is true. We still have a ways to go, but not as far as we did thanks to Mildred and Richard Loving. They are both gone now, but the strength of their love and commitment to justice lives.