June 12, 1967: What is Loving Day? Loving v. Virginia, the Case That Lifted the Ban Against Interracial Marriage

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Loving v. Virginia is a landmark Supreme Court case that forever redefined marriage in the United States by legalizing interracial marriage in the United States. A unanimous vote by the Supreme Court on June 12th, 1967, lifted the ban against interracial marriage in V.A. The ruling quickly spread to 16 other states with similar laws at the time. [i]

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Mildred and Richard Loving originally traveled from their home state of Virginia to Washington, D.C., to wed, then returned to Virginia, where they settled together. The couple was unaware that it was against Virginia law to leave the state to marry and return. It would not be long after their union that police would force their way into the Loving's home and arrest both Mildred and Richard for violating the Racial Integrity Act of 1924. The penalty for violation of the act was one year in prison or the alternative option of leaving the state for twenty-five years. Upon appearing in court before the judge, both agreed to leave the state of Virginia for twenty-five years. [ii]

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Initially, the couple did move from Virginia. Still, Mildred missed her family, and since they were not allowed to travel to Virginia together simultaneously, the move caused considerable strain on the couple's relationship. Growing weary of the unnecessary stress and distance from her loved ones, Mildred reached out to then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who referred the couple to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU argued the Lovinng's case through the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ultimately invalidated Virginia's anti-miscegenation laws, legalizing interracial marriage, a fitting ending for a couple with such an appropriate last name. The couple's journey was dramatized into a movie titled Loving in 2016, as seen in the following video: [iii]

As Loving Day 2022 draws near, a variety of events are available across the nation to learn more and stand in solidarity with interracial couples nationwide, including the following:

  • 6/14/22 - Virtual Event hosted by the Newport News Public Library - Loving: A Story of Change in Virginia, a review of the lingering effects of Loving v. Virginia in American Society from 6:00 - 7:30 PM ET. Although this is a virtual event, local patrons of the Virginia area are encouraged to visit in person. Registration is requested.
  • 6/16/22 - Los Angeles, CA - Loving Day: Loving in 2022: Music Showcase + Virtual Art Gallery will feature music, art, and culture. The event will be held at Art Share L.A., 801 East 4th Place, Los Angeles, CA, from 7:00 - 9:30 PM PT.
  • 6/22/22 - Virtual Event hosted by the Multiracial Americans of Southern California - Loving Day: Loving in 2022: Virtual Panel Discussion + Open Dialogue surrounding interracial marriage and partnership while discussing 'Navigating Life Together and Loving in 2022,' from 5:00 - 6:00 PM PST. Registration is free.

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Charnell Gilchrist

References

[i] HISTORY, How Loving v. Virginia Led to Legalized Interracial Marriage | History, (Feb. 27, 2018)

[ii] Id.

[iii] Id.

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Currently pursuing a Juris Doctor at Western State College of Law, freelance writer Charnell Gilchrist, a North Carolina native, now spends her free time writing in sunny Aliso Viejo, CA.

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