Mildred Loving of the Virginia vs. Loving case fame died last week Friday. In 1958, she married her white sweetheart Richard in Washington DC since interracial marriage was illegal in their home state of Virginia. Virginia’s tourism motto is “Virginia is for Lovers” and the Lovings helped make that a little truer for interracial couples.
Mildred Jeter Loving, 68, a black woman whose refusal to accept Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1967 that struck down similar laws across the country, died of pneumonia Friday at her home in Milford, Va.
Washington Post: Quiet Va. Wife Ended Interracial Marriage Ban
Martin Luther King Jr. on interracial marriage:
Races do not fall in love and get married. Individuals fall in love and get married. Why don’t you want your fellow men and women, your fellow Americans to be happy? Why do you attack them? Why do you want to destroy the love they hold in their hearts? Why do you want to crush their hopes, their dreams, their longings, their aspirations? We are talking about human beings, people like you, people want to get married, buy house, and spend their lives with the one they love. They have done no wrong.”
Interracial couples everywhere and their families as well as any morally decent individual owe a debt of gratitude to Richard and Mildred Loving for the hardship they endured to love, marry, and challenge unjust laws so that they and others like them might live their lives without fear. Thank you.
This story was also made into an excellent movie called Mr. and Mrs. Loving.