Each year, National Loving Day on June 12th commemorates the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving vs. Virginia. This decision struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in sixteen U.S. states. The ruling cited, “There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause.” In the United States, anti-miscegenation laws were U.S. state laws banning interracial marriage.The History Channel tells this story in How Loving v. Virginia Led to Legalized Interracial Marriage.
Childhood friends, Mildred and Richard, met when she was 11, and he was 17. Over the years, they began courting. In 1958, when Mildred turned 18, the couple married in Washington and returned to their hometown north of Richmond. However, two weeks later, authorities arrested the couple. Mildred and Richard did not realize the state of Virginia viewed interracial marriage as illegal. The Lovings pleaded guilty, and to avoid jail time, they agreed to leave Virginia.
While living in Washington D.C., the Lovings started legal action by writing to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy referred the case to the American Civil Liberties Union. The Warren Court unanimously ruled in their favor, and the Lovings returned to their Virginia home, where they resided with their three children.
Learn about the landmark Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia, which legalized interracial marriage in the United States.This is the second consecutive day I've featured the 14th Amendment, Section 3 of which I quoted in Noah, Kimmel, and Maher on January 6th hearings yesterday.
The inspiring and aptly named story of the Lovings inspired several films listed on the case's Wikipedia page.
PBS NewsHour interviewed the director and stars of the most recent film In 'Loving,' an American story about a marriage worth fighting for five-and-one-half years ago.
- The first, Mr. and Mrs. Loving (1996), was written and directed by Richard Friedenberg and starred Lela Rochon, Timothy Hutton, and Ruby Dee. According to Mildred Loving, "not much of it was very true. The only part of it right was I had three children."
- Nancy Buirski's documentary The Loving Story, premiered on HBO in February 2012 and won a Peabody Award that year.
- Loving, a dramatized telling of the story based on Buirski's documentary, was released in 2016. It was directed by Jeff Nichols and starred Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton as the Lovings. Negga received an Academy Award nomination for her performance.
A new movie, "Loving," tells the real-life story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a Virginia couple who were arrested because interracial marriage was illegal in their home state. They appealed their case and won a landmark civil rights ruling at the Supreme Court. Jeffrey Brown speaks with director Jeff Nichols and others about how they brought the love story to the screen.As I wrote, inspiring and aptly named, and it happened only 55 years ago. Just the same, the case remains timely, as U.S. Senator from Indiana Mike Braun answered "yes" to being asked “You would be okay with the Supreme Court leaving the issue of interracial marriage to the states?” This was while Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation hearings were going on. At least Senator Braun walked his response back, telling NBC News “There is no question the Constitution prohibits discrimination of any kind based on race, that is not something that is even up for debate, and I condemn racism in any form...” At least he realized his mistake and tried to correct it. I hope he remembers his second statement for future reference.
That's it for today's Sunday entertainment feature that is also a history lesson. I hope my readers learned something. I know I did.