On this day dedicated to love, I can’t help but think about the strength of the love between Mildred and Richard Loving, who changed America because of their bond. Loving vs. Virginia (1967) was the landmark case that made so-called “interracial” marriages legal across the land.
The case was brought by Mildred Loving, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, who had been sentenced to a year in prison in Virginia for marrying each other. Their marriage violated the state’s anti-miscegenation statute, the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which prohibited marriage between people classified as “white” and people classified as “colored.” The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision held this prohibition was unconstitutional, overturning Pace v. Alabama (1883) and ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States. The decision was followed by an increase in interracial marriages in the U.S., and is remembered annually on Loving Day, June 12. It has been the subject of two movies as well as songs.
So Happy Valentines Day to all and especially those who are unafraid to love whomever they want.