While it’s not even close to June 12th, the day of the annual “Loving Day” celebration, I want to pay my respects to Richard and Mildred Loving. In case you don’t recall their story, Richard and Mildred decided to get married in 1958. Richard was white and Mildred was black. At the time they were living in Virginia where interracial marriage was against the law. Since they loved (I know, isn’t it a perfect coincidence?) each other, they went to Washington, D.C. to marry. They returned to Virginia and a few weeks later (as I understand it) they were arrested because their marriage violated the state’s anti-miscegenation statute prohibiting “white” people and “colored” people from marrying. The Lovings were convicted via state law.
After nearly a nine-year period in the legal system, the Lovings’ case reached the Supreme Court; and in 1967 the Court overturned the convictions, which, in effect, abolished the Virginia law against interracial marriage. On a larger scale this decision deemed anti-miscegenation laws a breach of the Fourteenth Amendment; and in any state where the law was still enforced it essentially became invalid.
Fast forward a few years and it was my parents getting married as an interracial couple in California. California’s anti-miscegenation law had already been repealed in 1948, so my parents weren’t subject to civil discrimination. However, they certainly experienced their fair share of prejudice from within their collective family. This is not the time to tell their full story, but I will say that my parents were refused support from a couple of immediate relatives upon being engaged. Their decision to marry required sacrifices that affected family dynamics for years.
I am grateful to the Lovings for their courage and determination to pursue what was legitimately—although not at the time lawfully—theirs. I am especially grateful to my parents for being trailblazers and for making sacrifices that have undoubtedly influenced my attitude on life as well as my ability to be authentic and unfettered.
Here’s to the Lovings and to all who seek sweet-truth and justice.