Have you ever heard of Loving vs. Virginia? It was a landmark civil rights case decided by the United States Supreme Court that decided against the laws prohibiting interracial marriage. The historical case was brought on by Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Loving, an African American woman. This couple was sentenced to one year in prison for their marriage. According to the law in Virginia at the time, their marriage violated the anti-miscegenation statute that prohibited marriage between “whites” and people of “color.” The Supreme Court made a unanimous decision determining that this law was unconstitutional. This ruling overruled the Pace vs. Alabama law of 1883 and was the end of all race-based restrictions on marriage in the United States.
It all began in the summer of 1958 when three police officers burst into the home of Richard and Mildred Loving. An anonymous tip had informed the police about Richard, a white man of 24 years old and Mildred, a black woman of 18 were living together as husband and wife. Mildred was a friendly and sweet homemaker and Richard was a rugged and quiet bricklayer. After they were arrested, Mildred and Richard plead guilty to violating the Racial Integrity Act. Their punishment was either to spend one year in prison or to leave Virginia. They decided to move to Washington D.C. where they were married and wanted to focus on raising their three children; Peggy, Sidney and Donald.
It was not until 1963 when Mildred gained enough confidence from the Civil Rights Movement to contact the US Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy for help. Robert F. Kennedy referred her to the American Civil Liberties Union, who took on her case. Richard stated, “We are not doing it just because somebody had to do it and we wanted to be the ones. We are doing it for us-because we want to live here.” This story has been mostly forgotten until recently when they decided to make a movie based on this story. It is entitled Loving and will be in theaters on November 4.