Today Is Loving Day!
I never tire of reading about the wonderfully compelling love story of Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving.
In June 1958 they decided to buck the tide of ignorance and racism and pursue their American dream: to spend their lives living and loving each other in holy (and legal) matrimony.
The “Crime” Of Interracial Marriage
They had to go to Washington, DC for the ceremony. Even so, they were arrested in their own bedroom in the middle of the night by sheriff’s deputies for the “crime” of interracial marriage.
Richard and Mildred were prosecuted by the state. They were sentenced to a year in prison for their “crime,” but allowed to leave Virginia.
For 5 years they lived in exile, separated from their families and banished from the home state they loved.
Mildred and Richard finally grew tired of the fact that they couldn’t live as a married couple in any state they wanted to live.
They decided to fight back. In June of 1967, nine years to the month they were married, a decision was rendered in a landmark Supreme Court case.
They had won. At long last, Richard and Mildred had the right to live and live in marital bliss anywhere in the United States.
Their decision to fight back changed the legal landscape for interracially married couples.
Sadly, the Supreme Court decision didn’t end racism, hatred, ignorance or intolerance. These days, turning on the evening news is almost a sure-fire way to remain painfully aware of the fact that racism – whether inherent, overt or covert, real or imagined, never seems to be far from the surface.
I’m grateful for the advances that have been made, yet I’m mindful of the fact that 1967 was merely 49 years ago.
Nevertheless, interracial couples (we’re especially partial to those featuring Black women!) flourish and thrive because the actions of this brave couple paved the way.
A Bittersweet Ending
The Loving’s story had a bittersweet ending. In 1975, 17 years after their marriage, Mildred Loving lost her husband Richard in a tragic car accident. Mildred died in 2008 but she never remarried.
In a statement issued on the 4oth anniversary of the historic Supreme Court decision (June 12, 2007 – the year before she died) Mildred declared:
“ . . . not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the ‘wrong kind of person’ for me to marry.”
I thank God for Richard and Mildred Loving, and for them having a love for one another that transcended the climate and laws of their day.
Richard and Mildred, today we celebrate you – and we celebrate love.
Happy Loving Day!
Today’s featured couple is Karla and Don, both retired Navy veterans.
They have been married for 22 years.
Karla and Don were first featured on the blog in 2014. To read that post, click here.
Karla and Don also were featured on a series of podcast episodes:
Podcast Episode 032 – Life, Love and Marriage – In the Navy!
Podcast Episode 033 – How To Manage a Long Distance Marriage
Podcast Episode 034 – The 3 Key Ingredients Necessary for Attracting a Quality Mate
Podcast Episode 035 – “My Parents Tried To Diss The Woman I Love!”
To learn more about Loving Day and support a crowd funding project launched by Williesha Morris, click here.
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