Today’s Black History Month spotlight is on Mildred & Richard Loving.
- Mildred & Richard Loving was an interracial couple who challenged the law against their right to marry in Virginia.
- The couple was charged as criminals in Virginia for living as man and wife under the 1924 anti-miscegenation law, the Racial Integrity Act, which banned marriages between white and non-white people.
- The Lovings married in Washington, D.C,. in 1958 because they knew that it would be illegal for them to marry in their home state of Virginia.
- Still, they were arrested by the county sheriff for “cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth” and the couple plead guilty to the charges against them.
- In 1959, they were sentenced to a 25 year suspension from the state, which meant that they had to move and never return together for 25 years. The couple then moved to Washington, D.C.
- Out of frustration, Mildred wrote Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy about their case, and with the support of the ACLU, the case went to the United States Supreme Court (Loving v. Virginia).
- On June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled in the Loving’s favor, overturning their convictions in Virginia. The court also ruled that the 1924 Racial Integrity Act in Virginia was in violation of the 14th Amendment.
“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.” ~Mildred Loving