Information

Mildred and Richard: The Love Story that Changed America

Mildred and Richard: The Love Story that Changed America


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

“What are you doing in bed with this woman?,” Sheriff R Garnett Brooks asked as he shone his flashlight on a couple in bed. It was 2 a.m. on July 11, 1958, and the couple in question, Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter, had been married for five weeks. “I’m his wife,” Mildred responded. The sheriff, who was acting on an anonymous tip, didn’t relent with his questioning. Richard was of Irish and English descent, and Mildred of African American and Native American descent, and according to state law, it was crime for them to be married. They were arrested for violating Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act.

Richard spent a night in jail before being released on a $1,000 bond his sister procured. Mildred, however, was not allowed a bond. She spent three nights alone in the small woman’s cell that only fit one. When she was finally released, it was to her father’s care. After the couple pled guilty, the presiding judge, Leon M. Bazile, gave them a choice, leave Virginia for 25 years or go to prison. They left and would spend the next nine years in exile.

The Lovings first met when Mildred was 11 and Richard was 17. He was a family friend, but their dating courtship didn’t begin until years later. Growing up about three or four miles apart, they were raised in a relatively mixed community that saw themselves as a family, regardless of race. Often coming together over music and drag racing, it was not uncommon for people of different races to intermingle, work together and sometimes date. Mildred’s mother was part Rappahannock Indian, and her father was part Cherokee. She later identified herself as Indian.

Richard and Mildred dated on and off for a couple of years before they decided to get married after Mildred became pregnant. (Mildred already had a first child from another relationship.) The Lovings traveled to Washington, D.C. to marry, where interracial marriage was legal, and it was the nation’s capital that they would later return to when they were forced to leave their home.

Leaving behind their family and friends, the Lovings attempted to make a life in Washington, D.C., but they never felt at home. Mildred didn’t adapt to city life; she was a country girl who was used to a rural area where there was room for kids to play. Wanting to see family, the Lovings would defy the court order to periodically return to Virginia. As they were not allowed to return together, they would take precautions not to be seen together in Virginia, Richard often never venturing outside the house.

In the backdrop of the Lovings’ struggle, the civil rights movement was taking root. While the Lovings were too preoccupied with their own hardships to be involved, they were inspired by the activism they saw. In 1964, Mildred wrote to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy for help. Kennedy told her to contact the American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU lawyers Bernard S. Cohen and Philip J. Hirschkop eagerly took the case.

Their first attempt at justice was to have the case vacated and the ruling reversed by the original judge. After waiting almost a year for a response, they brought a class action suit to the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia, which finally elicited a response from Judge Bazile. He stated, “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.” This prejudice-filled response provided the grounds for an appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeal, but that court upheld the original ruling.

By this time, the Lovings were living secretly together in Virginia. They considered staying separately with their own families, but on the advice of their lawyers they remained together only after being assured that even if arrested, they would only be held for a couple of hours (with the ACLU on call to assist with a release).

LIFE photographer Grey Villet met the Lovings in 1965, before the landmark case went to trial, when he was sent on assignment to document the day-to-day world of the couple. He captured a simple story, a love story. He took photos of the Lovings watching TV together, playing with their kids and kissing. The photos ran in a 1966 issue, providing a rare look into the private lives of a couple that would have such a lasting impact on the laws of the United States.

The case made its way to the United States Supreme Court, where oral arguments began on April 10,1967. Philip Hirschkop wasn’t qualified to try a case in front of the Court, since he was only out of law school a little over two years (a year shy of the requirement). This meant anything Hirschkop wrote had to be signed off by Bernard Cohen, who had been out of law school over three years, but had no experience in federal court. These two novice lawyers understood they were arguing one of the most important constitutional law cases ever to come before the Court.

When asked her thoughts on the case before the oral arguments began, Mildred said, “It’s the principle, it’s the law. I don’t think it’s right. If we do win, we will be helping a lot of people. I know we have some enemies, but we have some friends too, so it really don’t make any difference about my enemies.” Neither of the Lovings appeared in court, but Richard did send a letter to his lawyers that read, “Tell the Court I love my wife and it is just not fair that I cannot live with her in Virginia.” The judges agreed. In a unanimous decision handed down on June 12, 1967, laws banning interracial marriage were deemed unconstitutional, overturning them in 16 states (although Alabama would only repeal its anti-miscegenation laws in 2000). Basing its decision on the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment, the ruling read, “Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the state. These convictions must be reversed. It is so ordered.”

It took nine years, but the Lovings were finally—legally—home. They built a house together on an acre of land Richard’s father had given them. Eight years later, the Lovings were hit by a drunk driver while driving home on a Saturday night. Richard was killed. Mildred never remarried, but she stayed in the home Richard built surrounded by family and friends.

Mildred lived a quiet, private life declining interviews and staying clear of the spotlight. She did, however, make a rare exception in June of 2007. On the 40th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia ruling, three people working on behalf of the gay rights group Faith in America came to Mildred for her thoughts on same-sex marriage. After careful reflection and discussions with neighbors and her children the devoutly religious Mildred issued a statement that read, in part, “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’s civil rights.”

There is little doubt about Mildred and Richard’s legacy. There’s an unofficial celebration on June 12, called “Loving Day,” honoring the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision and multiculturalism. Loving v. Virginia declared anti-miscegenation laws to be illegal across the United States, but perhaps, even more importantly, it’s the legacy of an ever-lasting love—a love that triumphed even in the face of persistent hate.

Their story hit the silver screen on November, 4, 2016, in the award-winning film “Loving.”


The Lovings: A Couple That Changed History

Mildred and Richard Loving never set out to have their marriage become the subject of one of the most famous civil rights cases of the last century. But it was their deep affection for one another and sheer determination that the heart won out over hate that led them to the Supreme Court, where the ACLU represented them in a landmark case that struck down state bans on interracial marriage.

Now, this saga of a 17-year-old Black woman who wanted nothing else than to marry her white 23-year-old childhood sweetheart will be recounted in The Loving Story, a documentary that will be shown, appropriately, on Valentine’s Day, at 9 p.m. ET.

Click on the picture below to view the trailer:

“This is a love story,” said director Nancy Buirski. “And it’s a story about people who were told they couldn’t love who they wanted to love.”

After the Lovings married in Washington, D.C. in 1958, they returned to their home state of Virginia, where soon after they were rousted out of bed and arrested for violating the state’s anti-miscegenation law. A state judge sentenced them to a year in jail, but suspended the sentence if they would leave the state for 25 years.

The Lovings left to live in Washington, but were arrested again five years later for traveling together, when they returned to Virginia to visit relatives. After the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the couple wrote to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy for help. They asked if the landmark law would allow them to be in the same car together. Kennedy referred them to the National Capitol Area office of the ACLU, which took on their case.

Volunteer attorneys Philip Hirschkop and Bernard Cohen represented the couple in losing appeals on the newest charges in district and appellate courts. "It was a terrible time in America," Cohen told The Washington Post in 2008. "Racism was ripe and this was the last de jure vestige of racism — there was a lot of de facto racism, but this law was. the last on-the-books manifestation of slavery in America."

Loving v. Virginia, went to the Supreme Court, where in 1967 the justices struck down Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage.

Richard Loving died in a car crash in 1975. Mildred Loving died of pneumonia in 2008.

The documentary features rare home movies of the Lovings and their three children as well as never-before-seen outtakes from a photo shoot given to the couple by a Life magazine photographer. Also heard are excerpts from the oral arguments at the Supreme Court.

“Anybody can change history,” Buirski said. “These were humble people, modest in every respect, who wanted to come home to live with their family in Virginia.”

Top Photo: Grey Villet, [Richard Loving kissing wife Mildred as he arrives home from work, King and Queen County, Virginia], April 1965. © Estate of Grey Villet. From an exhibit of 20 photographs of the Loving family currently on display at the International Center of Photography in New York City (1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street) through May 6, 2012. See more pictures from this exhibit >>


“The Loving Story”: How an Interracial Couple Changed a Nation

Kate Sheppard

Mildred and Richard Loving in 1965 Grey Villet/courtesy HBO

The most striking thing about Mildred and Richard Loving is that they never wanted to be known. They didn’t want to change history or face down racism. They just wanted to come home to Virginia to be near their families. The Lovings weren’t radicals. They were just two people in love&mdashone of them a taciturn white guy described by one of their lawyers as a “redneck,” the other a sweet, soft-spoken young woman of black and American Indian ancestry.

When the The Loving Story makes its national debut on HBO on Valentine’s Day, it will be the first time many Americans have met this couple. They are the namesake of the landmark 1967 Supreme Court case that struck down the anti-miscegenation laws still on the books in 16 states some 13 years after school segregation was deemed unconstitutional. These laws constituted one of the last formal vestiges of the Jim Crow era, and this film shows for the first time what it took to bring them down.

Even as they changed America, the Lovings were never a household name. After getting married in Washington, DC, in June 1958, they simply returned to their home in Central Point, Virginia. Mildred was unaware, she said, of her state’s “Racial Integrity Act,” a 1924 law forbidding interracial marriage&mdashalthough she later added that she thought her husband knew about it but didn’t figure they’d be persecuted.

Just over a month after the Lovings’ homecoming, police raided their place at 2 a.m., arrested the couple, and threw them in jail. Leon Bazile, a judge for the Caroline County Circuit Court, convicted them on felony charges. “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay, and red, and he placed them on separate continents,” the judge wrote. “The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

Bazile agreed to suspend their one-year prison sentences if they would leave the state. So the Lovings opted to live in exile in the nation’s capital&mdash90 miles from their hometown but a world away from their old rural life.

In 1963, after five years of sneaking back and forth to visit their families, Mildred wrote to Attorney General Robert Kennedy asking for help. Kennedy referred her to the American Civil Liberties Union, which put two young attorneys on the case. In The Loving Story, director/producer Nancy Buirski includes fascinating behind-the-scenes footage of the couple’s strategy sessions with their attorneys, talking about what to do if they are rearrested.

But more enlightening is the extensive, high-quality archival video and photography of the Lovings just being a family at home. The film opens with an extended scene of Mildred helping their daughter, Peggy, put on her socks and shoes. There’s Richard&mdasha square-jawed, crew-cut bricklayer&mdashmowing the lawn or relaxing on the couch with the kids. Particularly striking is a Life magazine photo of Mildred standing on their stoop, the screen door flung open to greet her husband. Richard, dressed in jeans and a work shirt, has his back to the camera. His arm rests on Mildred’s hip and the light shines on her face, making it appear angelic&mdashwhich is perhaps how he was seeing her then.

The Lovings had no idea they were going to change America. Nor did they particularly want the role&mdash”I wasn’t involved with the civil rights movement,” Mildred explains at one point. “We were trying to get back to Virginia. That was our goal.” It wasn’t until 1967, when the case went to the Supreme Court, that they seemed to realize it was about more than just them.

Even so, the Lovings didn’t come to Washington to hear the oral arguments. They preferred to stay home. When their lawyer, Bernard Cohen, asked Richard whether he had anything to say to the justices, he replied simply: “Tell the court I love my wife, and it’s just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.”

Much has changed in the past 45 years. Then again, much hasn’t. Alabama didn’t get around to repealing its anti-miscegenation law until 2000. Just three years ago, a Louisiana justice of the peace refused to marry a white woman to a black man, citing concern that their marriage wouldn’t last and their children would “suffer.” (This was among the same arguments the Virginia attorney general once used in the Loving case.) In a poll of Mississippi voters last April, nearly half of the registered Republicans said they thought interracial marriage should be illegal.

Most Americans are okay with black-white marriage&mdash a national poll this past September found that a record number approved. But 14 percent of us still don’t. What’s more, these marriages are still quite rare. As of 2009, only 550,000 married couples in the US&mdashfewer than 1 percent&mdashconsisted of a black spouse and a white spouse.

These couples are also relatively rare in mainstream media&mdashor at least realistic representations of them. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner debuted nationally the same year the Supreme Court handed down the Loving decision. And while the film pushed boundaries with its subject matter, it revolved around the mere existence of an interracial couple as opposed to their relationship.

More recently, interracial marriage has been portrayed as shocking and sexual (1991’s Jungle Fever or 2001’s Monster’s Ball). Or as a punch line&mdashsee the 2005 remake of GWCTD with Ashton Kutcher as the unexpected guest. Sometimes race is treated as an insurmountable obstacle (as in 1991’s Mississippi Masala). Sometimes it is simply ignored (2009’s Away We Go).

Speaking as one half of an interracial couple, I find the latter approach most common these days. “A world where interracial couples almost never discuss race doesn’t feel real,” concurs Tampa Bay Times media columnist Eric Deggans, a black man who has been married to a white woman for two decades, in a recent NPR commentary. “It feels like avoidance.”

Indeed, in real-world interracial relationships, race is impossible to ignore. Sure, it’s not something we think about when there are dishes to wash, bills to pay, anniversaries to celebrate, nephews and nieces to play with. But it’s always lurking on the sidelines. For one, we’ll never go on vacation in Mississippi. And there was that time a TSA agent separated us during an airport screening, directing my partner to go stand with his “family”&mdasha group of black people we’d never met&mdashwhile sending me to stand on the other side.

None of this, obviously, compares with what the Lovings faced on a daily basis. I can’t fathom what they dealt with. But there are still fears: What if people assume our kids aren’t mine? What if we don’t do a good enough job teaching our kids to appreciate all aspects of their heritage? What if I say something embarrassing in front of my husband’s family? And what do we do when our families say things that embarrass us?

The most compelling aspect of The Loving Story, ultimately, is the normalcy of the life it depicts&mdashthe normalcy this family was fighting for. If anything, I was hoping it would provide even more personal insight into the family. For while there are interviews with daughter Peggy and some family friends, Richard and Mildred are no longer with us&mdashand one of their two sons has also died.

Even so, this story about the Lovings’ courage and determination is enough to make viewers care deeply about a legal decision&mdasha decision that has particular resonance today, given the ongoing battle for marriage rights for same-sex couples. If a documentary can inspire us to look past the politics and punditry to recognize the humanity of the people our laws demonize, then it has certainly done the nation a service.


Where Are Richard and Mildred Loving’s Children Now?

&lsquoLoving&rsquo is a beautifully poignant story that chronicles the very real struggles that Richard and Mildred Loving had to go through to peacefully and legally exist, as an interracial couple. When the Supreme Court ruled in their favor (in Loving v. Virginia), the future of marriages was forever altered in America. Interestingly, despite being such monumental agents of change during a tumultuous period in the country, the Lovings had always wanted to stay away from the limelight.

Even though the couple has since passed away, they did leave behind a beautiful family. Mildred, who succumbed to pneumonia in 2008, was surrounded by 8 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Plus, with a story as iconic as that of the Lovings, one naturally becomes curious and wants to learn more about the life that they built for themselves. Therefore, let’s take look at the Loving children.

Who Are Richard and Mildred Loving&rsquos Children?

Richard and Mildred first met when he was 17, and she was 11. However, they only got together in high school. When she became pregnant at 18, they decided to get married and went to Washington, D.C., to tie the knot. One night, after they returned to their house in Central Point, Virginia, the two were arrested by the Sheriff’s Department (which had received an anonymous tip about the interracial couple). The couple was then given the option of moving to another city to avoid jail time. So, the pair relocated to the District of Columbia.

Image Credit: The Loving Family

However, fed up with the social and financial issues that they kept facing, Mildred reached out to the then-Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy, who steered her towards the ACLU. This launched the case against anti-miscegenation laws, and eventually, the Lovings returned to Virginia after their triumph. Not only would the couple become synonymous with the Civil Rights movement forevermore, but they would also go on to raise three children. It is imperative to note that Richard was not biologically related to Mildred’s firstborn.

The eldest kid was named Sidney Clay Jeter, who was reportedly born on January 27, 1957, in Caroline County, Virginia. Growing up, he went to the Caroline County Public School System and was involved with the St. Stephens Baptist Church. In 1975, he joined the army and later, was given an honorable discharge. In 2007, he married Mary Yarbrough and had two daughters. The middle child was Donald Lendberg Loving, who was born on October 8, 1958.

Reportedly, Donald worked for KMM Telecommunications in Fredericksburg. He was married to Kathryn A. Loving and was also a father. However, not much else is known about him. The youngest one is their sister, Peggy Loving Fortune. She is now a divorced mother of three. In an interview, she spoke about her parents: “They helped a lot of people. For me to see a lot of interracial marriages or couples, and a lot of mixed children, I want them to know that it was because of my parents that they are able to do what they wanted to do.”

Where Are Richard and Mildred Loving&rsquos Children Now?

As of today, Peggy is the only surviving child. Sidney passed away in May of 2010 due to reasons that are not publically known. He was 53-years-old at the time. His younger brother, unfortunately, passed away before him in August of 2000. The event was unexpected, and Donald was 41-years-old at the time. After watching &lsquoLoving,&rsquo the daughter stated that she was overwhelmed with emotions. Peggy added, “I&rsquom so grateful that [my parents&rsquo] story is finally being told.&rdquo

Image Credit: CNN


RICHARD AND MILDRED LOVING: THE LOVE STORY THAT MADE MARRIAGE A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT

Director Nancy Buirski’s documentary The Loving Story, which chronicles the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Richard and Mildred Loving, whose case helped strike down anti-miscegenation laws, will debut at the Silverdocs Festival in Washington, D.C., in June. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. The ACLU will be hosting a D.C. showing on Capitol Hill on June 13. Ms. Buirski and the Lovings’ attorney Phil Hirschkop will hold a panel discussion that evening after a screening at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

In the following article, Ms. Buirski explains why she decided to make this documentary, as well as addressing the lasting effect that Loving v. Virginia, and the Lovings, have had on America.

Richard and Mildred Loving.

They are both gone now.

Mr. Loving died in an auto accident June 29, 1975 when a drunk driver slammed into his vehicle. He was 41. Mildred, who was in the car with him at the time, sustained injuries (she lost her right eye), but, she survived. She carried on with her life, raising their three children: Peggy, Sidney, and Donald (who died in 2000).

On May 2, 2008, Mrs. Loving died from pneumonia at the age of 68, in Milford, VA. She was always humble about the respect so many people gave her and Richard, and considered what she and Richard did as just simply an act of love for each other. But, what they did changed laws that affected marriage in many ways.

The U.S. Supreme Court, by a 9-0 vote, declared Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute, the “Racial Integrity Act of 1924“, unconstitutional, thereby overturning Pace v. Alabama (1883) and ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States.

Richard and Mildred probably never thought of the profound effect their marriage would have, when in 1967, the dismantling of anti-miscegenation laws were repealed all across America (with Alabama, the last holdout, rescinding its anti-miscegenation laws in 2000) due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision of Loving v. Virginia. June 12 is now celebrated as “Loving Day” in honor of Richard and Mildred Loving.

In June 12, 2007, the 40TH Anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, Mrs. Loving delivered a rare public appearance addressing the rights of same-sex couples to marry and the legacy of Loving v. Virginia:

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’s 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.

Until the day she died, Mrs. Loving simply considered herself just an ordinary woman, who never considered herself as extraordinary: “‘It wasn’t my doing,’ she told the Associated Press in a rare interview. ‘It was God’s work.’”

Yes, it was God’s work.

Just the same, what you and Richard did was extraordinary.

We thank you for that.

The Love Story That Made Marriage a Fundamental Right

Wednesday, April 27 2011, 10:16 AM EST

The Tribeca Film Festival is under way in New York, and one featured documentary delves into the story behind the landmark civil rights case Loving vs. Virginia, which struck down Jim Crow laws meant to prevent people from openly building families across racial lines.

Mildred and Richard Loving were an interracial couple that married in Washington, D.C., in 1958. Shortly after re-entering their hometown in Virginia, the pair was arrested in their bedroom and banished from the state for 25 years. The Lovings would spend the next nine years in exile, surreptitiously visiting family and friends back home in Virginia—and fighting for the right to return legally. Their case wound its way to the Supreme Court and, in 1967, the Court condemned Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act as a measure “designed to maintain white supremacy” that violated due process and equal protection. The ruling deemed the anti-miscegenation laws in effect in 16 states at the time unconstitutional. However, it took South Carolina until 1998 and Alabama until the year 2000 to officially remove language prohibiting interracial marriage from their state constitutions.

The landmark case has returned to popular consciousness in recent years as states have debated same-sex marriage rights. Marriage equality advocates have pointed to the Lovings’ fight as a foundational part of American history, establishing marriage as a basic civil right. But for decades it was left to the footnotes of civil rights history, overshadowed by blockbuster cases like Brown vs. Board of Education.

Director Nancy Buirski’s “The Loving Story” aims to deepen public understanding of not just the case but the Loving family itself. The filmmakers recreate their story through interviews with their friends, community members and the attorneys fighting their case. Buirski and her team revived unused footage of the Lovings from 45 years ago, including home movies, and dug up old photographs to bring the couple to life. As a result, the film is as much an engaging love story as it is a history of racist lawmaking.

“The Loving Story” is making the film festival rounds this year and will air on HBO in February 2012. I spoke with Buirski after the film’s Tribeca screening this week.

Why did you want to make this film?

I came across an obituary on Mildred Loving in 2008 and I realized when reading the story that she had an incredible life. She was an amazingly compelling character, partly because she was not your typical activist, who had set out to make change. You know, she was not a civil rights activist. She was a woman that was trying to return to her home in Virginia after being exiled for 25 years because she had married a white man. And he, too, was not someone who was your typical change the world kind of guy. He really loved his wife and felt the exile that the state had forced them into was simply wrong. And so what they wanted to do was right a wrong, but they weren’t trying to change history, and I felt that that was an unusual way to approach a civil rights event and the change that resulted from their actions.

What do you think is the relevance of the Lovings’ story today, in 2011?

There’s a tremendous amount of relevance. This is not just a civil rights story, it’s a human rights story. And we are talking about the freedom to choose who you love and who you can marry and clearly there are relevant concerns around those issues today in gay marriage rights.

I think other relevance comes from the identification that some mixed-race couples and mixed-race children have in society. Even though many of us take that for granted, it’s not necessarily as easy as it may seem to be part of a mixed-race relationship. I think the thing that connects the two situations, in 1967 and 2011, is the thing that motivates a lot of people to try to stop people from marrying—the intolerance and the prejudice that bubbles up in 2011, not only about gay marriage but even about immigrant reform. I think it has to do with fear. I believe that fear was a motivating factor when the Lovings were arrested and I believe fear is also a motivating factor in the intolerance that we see in society today.

Can you tell us more about Peggy Loving, the couple’s only surviving daughter? How does she feel about the case and the film?

You know, she’s very proud of her parents. She knows exactly what they achieved. She says whenever she watches a mixed-race couple walk down the street, arm in arm, she knows that that might not be the case if it weren’t for her parents, and she gets kind of emotional when she thinks about that. She likes to think of herself as a kind of rainbow, mixed, she feels it’s important that people recognize her mixed-race heritage and she’s very proud of it. And I think she loves the film.

How about the Lovings’ lawyers? They’re both still alive. Did they share any views, all these years later?

Philip Hirschkop [one of the Lovings’ attorneys] said recently that the fear and the prejudice that pervades our society today is a reminder of what the Lovings went through, and even though they prevailed, there’s nothing that could give them back their nine years of exile and separation from their family. And so we may take it for granted, but we really should be remembering how people like the Lovings struggled to get us where we are today.

So you were inspired after reading Loving’s obituary. Tell us about the long road from there to Tribeca.

Oh, you know, it’s three years later and it is a long process, but it’s an exciting one. You really just have to believe in the story and believe in the way you want to tell the story. And I think the most important thing was recognizing the value of the footage that we had and the photographs, and because we had such intimate material, allowing the Lovings to tell their own story. So we’ve made a historical film in a somewhat unusual style because there is no narrator, there’s no voice of God explaining to us what’s happening. It’s basically following the Lovings and their daughter and other people who knew them, allowing them to tell the story.

Is there anything else you wanted to say about the film?

[The film’s editor] Elisabeth Haviland James and and I both felt a real obligation to bring this story to a really wide audience and the fact that the depth of the story, the real story about this couple and their love have been overlooked for so many years. We really felt a commitment to bring this to a wider audience and we’re very grateful that we’re getting the response that we’re getting.

Do you feel like there’s any reason that it was overlooked? Because it was a landmark civil rights case and yet…

I think there were a number of other landmark cases and changes that were taking place just prior to this, and they tended to overtake this one because, you know, you had voting rights, you had Brown vs. Board of Education, you had people struggling for public accommodation, you know, the freedom to sit where they want to sit on the bus. Those felt a little more urgent than this did, so I think that’s one reason.

I think another reason is that the Lovings themselves were so humble and shy they didn’t particularly want publicity. And they were also in danger, because they were going back and forth to Virginia where they were supposedly prohibited from doing that, so they really needed to protect themselves and their family. And then finally, the fact that this was a case that dealt with the bedroom, that tended not to get the biggest publicity. Voting rights was an easier thing for people to deal with.

“The Loving Story” screened at the Tribeca Film Festival this week and will play at the Silverdocs Festival in Washington, D.C., in June. The ACLU will be hosting a D.C. showing on Capitol Hill on June 13. Buirski and the Lovings’ attorney Phil Hirschkop will hold a panel discussion this evening after a screening at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

*This article has been altered since publication.

Here is a video of Richard and Mildred. They discuss their marriage, their arrests, and their being told to leave the state of Virginia for 25 years. The video also divulges Mrs. Loving’s decision to write to then U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the case taken on by lawyers, and the case brought before the United States Supreme Court, where the infamous anti-miscegenation laws were struck down in June 1967.

The following “Mildred and Richard Loving Documentary” features more information on the Lovings, as well as including the founder of “Loving Day”, Ken Tanabe.


Connect with us.

Several descendants of the slaves sold to keep Georgetown University afloat in 1838 have received acceptance letters from the school. Two of them, Elizabeth and Shepard Thomas, and their mother, Sandra, joined Race/Related’s Rachel Swarns and John Eligon for a discussion. [Watch]

We examine topics related to race and culture each Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern on The Times’s Facebook page.

Know anyone else who might like to subscribe? Have them sign up at:


RELATED ARTICLES

And it is no wonder - eight years prior, the pair had married in the District of Columbia to evade the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which banned any white person marrying any non-white person.

But when they returned to Virginia, police stormed into their room in the middle of the night and they were arrested.

The pair were found guilty of miscegenation in 1959 and were each sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for 25 years if they left Virginia.

Tender: Mildred Loving greets husband Richard on their front porch in King and Queen County, Virginia, April 1965

Love: Grey Villet captures Richard and Mildred Loving with their children Peggy, Donald and Sidney in their living room in King and Queen County, Virginia, April 1965

They moved back to the District of Columbia, where they began the long legal battle to erase their criminal records - and justify their relationship.

Following vocal support from the Presbyterian and Roman Catholic churches, the Lovings won the fight - with the Supreme Court branding Virginia's anti-miscegenation law unconstitutional in 1967.

It wrote in its decision: 'Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival.

'To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law.'

A moment: Grey Villet captures Mildred and Richard Loving, their daughter Peggy, Mildred's sister Garnet and Richard's mother Lola, on the porch of Mildred's mother's house, Caroline County, Virginia in April 1965

Family: Richard and Mildred Loving sit in the open door of a car celebrating Richard's winning race, Sumerduck dragway in Sumerduck, Virginia, April 1965

Following the ruling, there was a 448 per cent increase in the number of interracial marriages in Georgia alone.

In 2007, 32 years after her husband died, Mrs Loving - who herself passed away the following year - released a statement in support of same-sex marriage.

She said: '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.

Concern: Mildred and Richard Loving in their home. They had been arrested in 1958, shortly after their marriage

Fears: In 1967, the US Supreme Court, in a unanimous verdict, ruled in the Loving's favor in 'Loving v. Virginia' and overturned Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute


Mildred Loving's Grandson Says She Wasn't Black

Mark Loving, the grandson of Mildred Loving, says his grandmother is being "racially profiled" in the upcoming film Loving.

Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter's 1958 marriage in Virginia would change the course of history when it came to interracial marriages. Loving was a white man and Jeter was a black woman, and their marriage was a violation of Virginia's Racial Integrity Act. It led to a Supreme Court case that eventually overturned the antiquated law.

But Mark Loving says his grandmother wasn't black: In an interview with Richmond, Va's., NBC12, he says she was Native American.

"I know during those times, there were only two colors: white and blacks," Mark Loving said. "But she was Native American both of her parents were Native American."

Mark Loving also says he has proof—his grandparents' marriage license, on which his grandmother was classified as "Indian."

However, there may be a simple reason she was labeled Indian, and that is some old Virginia history.

Writer Arica L. Coleman wrote about the Loving family in a Time article earlier this year. Mildred Loving did speak about her background and said that she was Native American, but Coleman delved into how that designation probably came to be.

In 1930, legislators, fearing that blacks would use the Indian claim to subvert the law, restricted the Indian classification to reservation Indians on the Pamunkey and Mattaponi Reservations in King William County, the nation’s oldest reservations. Numerous non-reservation citizens claiming an Indian identity circumvented the restriction by marrying in Washington, D.C., where they were able to obtain marriage licenses with the Indian racial designation.

Mildred Loving was no exception. Her racial identity was informed by the deeply entrenched racial politics of her community in Central Point, Va.

Interestingly enough, Coleman also spoke with one of the Lovings' lawyers, Bernard Cohen, and he said that Mildred Loving identified only as black to him.

We can probably assume that Mildred Loving was no different from some black people you meet who want to assert their Native American heritage, but as noted in Professor Henry Louis Gates' popular article , the truth of the matter is that just because you have “high cheekbones and straight black hair" doesn't mean you have Native American blood.

However, as far as Mark Loving is concerned, his grandmother wouldn't be OK with the upcoming Loving film because, he says, her true identity is being erased and she wasn't trying to be an activist.


The White and Black Worlds of Loving v. Virginia

H ollywood interpretations of true events always take some liberties with the truth, but the new film Loving&mdashbased on the intriguing story of Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs of the case Loving v. the Commonwealth of Virginia&mdashadheres relatively closely to the historical account. Writer-director Jeff Nichols&rsquo two-hour film chronicles the nine-year saga of the couple&rsquos courtship, marriage, arrest, banishment and Supreme Court triumph in 1967, which declared state proscriptions against interracial marriage unconstitutional.

The film also, however, sticks close to popular myths that have dogged the case for decades, particularly by contextualizing the story within a black/white racial binary&mdashwhen in fact Richard and Mildred Loving are prime examples of the way such lines have long been blurred.

This binary construction is nothing new. For example, it can already be seen in Simeon Booker&rsquos Ebony Magazine article &ldquoThe Couple That Rocked Courts,&rdquo which appeared several months after the Supreme Court decision. Booker situated Richard as a white man living in &ldquothe passing capital of America,&rdquo a place where black residents seemed nearly white too.

In this situation, Mildred&mdashlike many of her neighbors&mdashis the one who seems capable of passing into a white world. Some evidence does suggest that she did not always identify as black, and the question gets even more complicated when it came to the Lovings&rsquo children. As a 1966 LIFE Magazine article about the case, &ldquoThe Crime of Being Married,&rdquo notes in a caption, their daughter&rsquos &ldquofeatures are pure white&rdquo though their oldest son&rsquos are &ldquoheavily Negroid.&rdquo (And in fact, as I highlighted in the recent journal article &ldquoMildred Loving: The Extraordinary Life of An Ordinary Woman,&rdquo he was not Richard&rsquos biological son, but Mildred&rsquos from a previous relationship.) Because of laws that defined whiteness in absolute terms, the way the children looked did not matter legally, but appearances could be important&mdashand were a topic about which Booker&rsquos audience would likely have had a substantial interest.

Nichols&rsquo film looks at the question of passing from nearly the opposite perspective, focusing on how Richard, though phenotypically and legally white, seamlessly transverses the color line via his geographical and familial connections, socially &ldquopassing&rdquo as black.

Richard&rsquos ancestral roots were steeped in white southern patriarchal tradition. According to the 1830 census, his paternal ancestor Lewis Loving owned seven slaves. Richard&rsquos paternal grandfather, T. P. Farmer, served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Prior to Richard&rsquos marriage to Mildred on June 2, 1958, the Loving surname, at least in Caroline County, was the exclusive property of its white residents. The county court established the couple&rsquos racial identity by their birth certificates: Richard Perry Loving, &ldquowhite&rdquo and Mildred Delores Jeter &ldquocolored,&rdquo born 1933 and 1939 respectively.

But, while Richard&rsquos race was marked by the physical and legal constructions of whiteness, geographical and social markers also placed him on the opposite side of the color line.

Baz Dreisinger, in her book Near Black: White-Black Passing in American Culture, explores this phenomenon of &ldquoreverse racial passing,&rdquo which she defines as &ldquoany instance in which a person legally recognized as white effectively functions as a non-white person in any quarter of the social arena.&rdquo

This was certainly the case for Richard Loving, who lived in a county that was less than 50% white. His father was the employee of one of the wealthiest &ldquoNegroes&rdquo in the county for nearly 25 years. Richard&rsquos closet companions were black, including his drag-racing partners and Mildred&rsquos older brothers. The latter relationship went from mere friendship to the familial when Richard moved into the Jeter household soon after learning his fiancée was pregnant. When the Lovings were banished from Virginia as a part of their plea deal for violating the state&rsquos anti-miscegenation statute, they returned to Washington, D. C., where they had gotten married, and resided with Mildred&rsquos cousin who lived in a thriving black community on the northeast side of town.

Nichols emphasizes Richard&rsquos lack of connection to white society, and the prevalence of what Dreisinger describes as &ldquomoments of slippage,&rdquo when white people &ldquoperceive themselves or are perceived by others, as &lsquolosing&rsquo their whiteness and &lsquoacquiring&rsquo blackness.&rdquo

Such moments are poignantly captured in several instances in the film&mdashfor example, in a fictionalized encounter between Richard and the county sheriff. (The sheriff, perhaps not coincidentally, addresses Richard as &ldquoBoy&rdquo a term that has historically been used to emasculate black men.) The sheriff scolds Richard for his marriage to a black woman, then shows pity for Richard&rsquos confusion regarding his proper place within the racial order, a consequence of being born in racially mixed Central Point.

“I&rsquom sorry for you. I really am. All ya&rsquoll over there in Central Point don&rsquot know up from down. All mixed up,&rdquo he says. &ldquoHalf Cherokee, Rappahannock, part Negro, part white. Blood don&rsquot know what it wants to be. You just got born in the wrong place is all.&rdquo

In a second instance, Richard is at the local bar enjoying a night out on the town with his drag-racing companions when one of them quips to Richard, &ldquoyou think you like a black man, but you white. But not now. Now you know what it&rsquos like. You black now aren&rsquot you? You a damn fool.&rdquo

In other words, Richard is getting to know what it&rsquos really like to be black, now that he&rsquos experiencing actual discrimination, and he was a &ldquofool&rdquo to give up the privilege that his black companions crave.

Rather than setting the black characters close to whiteness, Nichols places Richard so close in proximity to blackness that the community and even his children bear no resemblance to the multi-racial world the Lovings called home.

Richard Loving would attest to the Supreme Court that the only thing they needed to know was that he loved his wife. That was why he married her. And yet there has so often been an urge to go looking for a deeper explanation. Did he marry her because she was basically white? Or because he was basically black? Neither is, taking his own word for it, true. That&rsquos the problem with &ldquopassing,&rdquo from a historical perspective, and it&rsquos something that the Loving story exposes. Though it may be convenient narrative to say in the 1960s that black Virginians passed visually for white or to say today that white ones passed socially for black, the reality is much more nuanced: both sides sometimes meet in the middle.

But that doesn&rsquot mean passing doesn&rsquot matter. In her book, Dreisinger contends that narratives of racial passing not only demonstrate how Americans &ldquograpple with the color line in intriguing and inimitable ways,&rdquo but are also &ldquocrucial to understanding how blacks and whites look upon each other whether with awe, fear, desire&mdashor all three. &rdquo Loving will certainly continue a national conversation about race, interracial intimacy and mixed-race identity&mdasheven as it places its characters in a binary world.

Historians explain how the past informs the present

Arica L. Coleman is the author of That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia and chair of the Committee on the Status of African American, Latino/a, Asian American, and Native American (ALANA) Historians and ALANA Histories at the Organization of American Historians.


The love story that changed history: Fascinating photographs of interracial marriage at a time when it was banned in 16 states

Just 45 years ago, 16 states deemed marriages between two people of different races illegal.

But in 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court considered the case of Richard Perry Loving, who was white, and his wife, Mildred Loving, of African American and Native American descent.

The case changed history - and was captured on film by LIFE photographer Grey Villet, whose black-and-white photographs are now set to go on display at the International Center of Photography.

Loving: Grey Villet's photograph captures Richard Loving kissing wife Mildred as he arrives home from work in King and Queen County, Virginia, April 1965

Content: The Loving's children Peggy, Sidney and Donald play in King and Queen County, Virginia in April 1965

Twenty images show the tenderness and family support enjoyed by Mildred and Richard and their three children, Peggy, Sidney and Donald.

The children, unaware of the struggles their parents face, are captured by Villet as blissfully happy as they play in the fields near their Virginia home or share secrets with their parents on the couch.

Their parents, caught sharing a kiss on their front porch, appear more worry-stricken.

And it is no wonder - eight years prior, the pair had married in the District of Columbia to evade the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which banned any white person marrying any non-white person.

But when they returned to Virginia, police stormed into their room in the middle of the night and they were arrested.

The pair were found guilty of miscegenation in 1959 and were each sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for 25 years if they left Virginia.

Tender: Mildred Loving greets husband Richard on their front porch in King and Queen County, Virginia, April 1965

Love: Grey Villet captures Richard and Mildred Loving with their children Peggy, Donald and Sidney in their living room in King and Queen County, Virginia, April 1965

They moved back to the District of Columbia, where they began the long legal battle to erase their criminal records - and justify their relationship.

Following vocal support from the Presbyterian and Roman Catholic churches, the Lovings won the fight - with the Supreme Court branding Virginia's anti-miscegenation law unconstitutional in 1967.

It wrote in its decision: 'Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival.

'To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law.'

A moment: Grey Villet captures Mildred and Richard Loving, their daughter Peggy, Mildred's sister Garnet and Richard's mother Lola, on the porch of Mildred's mother's house, Caroline County, Virginia in April 1965

Family: Richard and Mildred Loving sit in the open door of a car celebrating Richard's winning race, Sumerduck dragway in Sumerduck, Virginia, April 1965

Following the ruling, there was a 448 per cent increase in the number of interracial marriages in Georgia alone.

In 2007, 32 years after her husband died, Mrs Loving - who herself passed away the following year - released a statement in support of same-sex marriage.

She said: '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.

Concern: Mildred and Richard Loving in their home. They had been arrested in 1958, shortly after their marriage

Fears: In 1967, the US Supreme Court, in a unanimous verdict, ruled in the Loving's favor in 'Loving v. Virginia' and overturned Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute

Long fight: Left, Mildred and Richard Loving speak with their American Civil Liberties Union lawyer in May 1965. Pictured right, Mildred walks with her daughter near their home in Caroline County, Virginia the same year

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.'

Photographs of their content family life and grapple with the law were unearthed by director Nancy Buirski during the making of a documentary about the pair.

Her documentary, The Loving Story, will air on February 14 on HBO.

Twenty of the prints will be exhibited at the International Center of Photography in New York City, from January 20 until May 6. They are on loan by the estate of Grey Villet and by the Loving family .

Together: Richard Loving and his son sit on a sofa in their home in Central Point, Caroline County, Virginia, May 196 - two years before the U.S Supreme court threw out the law banning interracial marriage

Struggle: Mildred (center) and Richard Loving (left), with their daughter, on the front steps of the home of Richard Loving's mother (right) in Central Point, Caroline County, Virginia, May 1965

For more information about the exhibition, visit International Center of Photography

Mildred Loving holds a photo of her husband Richard as a young man. The Lovings' children stand in the background: (from left to right) Sidney, Donald, and Peggy, holding her son Mark. Richard died in a 1975 automobile accident that left Mildred blind in one eye she died in 2008. Donald died in 2000.

Thank you for posting, love knows no bounderies.

A beautiful thread. Thanks.

Thank goodness for humans such as these.

Before this, I knew a few scant facts (mostly referential) about the Loving case.

I just wanted to thank you for some of these threads you initiate on your own. Are you a journalist? If not, I wish more journalists had this individual sense, or freedom, of giving the world things to think about turning the microscope away and towards under-appreciated stories.

Thank you for posting. The Lovings were strong trailblazers standing up for their right to choose. My family owes a debt of gratitude to them because they sacrificed and fought for the freedom I exercised when I choose to marry outside of my race. And I would love to say that if I met resistance I would also show courage but I would be lying.

I never knew Mrs. Loving was a cougar. She was 6 years older. They broke all kinds of barrier back then. Just goes to show that Love knows no boundaries. What I don't understand is why can't Gay rights activists can't use this ruling to prevent the discrimination against gays right to marry. the wording of the supreme court ruling applies to gay rights to marry as well.

prodigalfan said:

I never knew Mrs. Loving was a cougar. She was 6 years older. They broke all kinds of barrier back then. Just goes to show that Love knows no boundaries. What I don't understand is why can't Gay rights activists can't use this ruling to prevent the discrimination against gays right to marry. the wording of the supreme court ruling applies to gay rights to marry as well.

Yes, and interesting that Mildred Loving said she supported the right to marry for all, including gays. Unwavering in her convictions. It's a wonderful story.

I'd heard of this case before, but the human story and the photos are great.

U can rape-kill-torture-impregnate Black woman for 200 plus years but u can't marry one. AmeriKa is a trip.

Graycap23 said:

Interesting.

U can rape-kill-torture-impregnate Black woman for 200 plus years but u can't marry one. AmeriKa is a trip.

that's where the craziness is, because it was a law, another level of lies had to come about to deal with the rape or impregnating of black and mixed women.

One that was common back during slavery times is : they came in those colors, when an African women popped out a fair skinned baby

the other was that Mulattoes were sterile so that child couldn't have come from a white man

But I'm glad the Lovings did what they did.

Peggy Loving Fortune (center), daughter of Mildred and Richard Loving, talks Saturday night with part of the creative team behind the documentary ‘The Loving Story,’ including director Nancy Buirski (second from left). (Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi/The Free Lance-Star)


Watch the video: WHEN INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE WAS STILL A CRIME IN THE. LOVING vs. VIRGINIA (May 2022).


Comments:

  1. Chepe

    Unfortunately, I can help nothing. I think, you will find the correct decision.

  2. Nkrumah

    I believe you were wrong. I'm sure. We need to discuss.



Write a message