Lessons in Black History – The Lovings

Richard and Mildred Loving – On June 12, 1967, the United States Supreme Court made a landmark decision in the case of Loving vs. Virginia, effectively clearing the way for interracial marriages in all fifty states. When the court ruled on the case, sixteen states still had anti-miscegenation laws that made it illegal for people from different races to marry, have sex, or cohabitate. Between the years of 1913 and 1948, thirty states recognized these laws, effectively banning interracial relationships and making them punishable by prison. All of this came to an end with the marriage of Richard and Mildred Loving. Richard and Mildred were married in Virginia in 1958, where the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 made all relationships between whites and non-whites illegal. The Lovings were charged with violating the law, sentenced to one year and prison with the charges suspended on the condition they leave the state of Virginia. The ACLU filed a claim on behalf of the Lovings, which led to a series of court cases, leading all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously in favor of the Lovings. Richard and Mildred had three children, but in 1975 Richard was tragically killed by a drunk driver. He was 41 at the time. Mildred passed away in 2008 at the age of 68.

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