Tuesday, May 06, 2008


In 1958 Mildred and Richard Loving married in the District to avoid Virginia's "Racial Integrity Act." She was African American, he was white. A few weeks later, the sheriffs woke-up and arrested the Lovings at 2 a.m. The Lovings pleaded guilty and Judge Bazile sentenced them to one year in prison, with the sentence suspended for 25 years on condition that the couple leave the state of Virginia.
"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and He placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with His arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that He separated the races shows that He did not intend for the races to mix." --Judge Bazile
Nine years and many trials later, and the Supreme Court overturned the trial court in Loving v. Commonwealth of Virginia, a case that most of us law students read in Constitutional Law. Even though we may have learned about the Civil Rights movement before, it was nonetheless shocking to read about anti-miscegenation laws and the opinions from "learned" judges. Only fifty years ago and across the border.

Mildred Loving died this past week. She never wanted to be a race-relations pioneer. In fact, she and her husband did not go to their Supreme Court trial, never gave interviews, and said they never wanted to be the public face of anything. Like many names of landmark Supreme Court cases, the Lovings just wanted to live their lives.

Thanks to the Lovings and those other names, we get to live our lives--interracial relationships and all.

[Sources Washington Post, Wikipedia]


James said...

I quite enjoyed reading this, despite the content and subject matter. Thank you very much for sharing their story.

Kristina said...

despite? hm, explain por favor.

James said...

Despite the original court decision, and despite the stigma that still exists (albeit thankfully less so), and despite the racism and prejudice that causes such benign and innocuous things to become controversial in the first place.

I didn't phrase the original comment very well. I'm thankful to the Lovings too.

Kristina said...

That makes much more sense. I agree, and I am glad that someone else appreciates these stories that should taught in history but are instead buried in law school books.