'The Loving Story': A moving tale of love and Civil Rights
The HBO movie documents the landmark legal battle of an interracial couple fighting to stay together in Virginia in the 1950s
1. Interracial marriage used to be a jailable offense in Virginia.
Mildred Jeter Loving, who was black and Native American, and her white husband, Richard, were arrested in 1958 and sentenced to a year in prison simply for being married. Their sentences were suspended on the condition that they leave the state of Virginia.
2. Ignorant judges may have helped the Lovings’ cause.
In a ruling against the Lovings, Virginia judge Leon M. Bazile claimed that God ”separated the races” because He ”did not intend the races to mix.” One of the Lovings’ lawyers, Philip J. Hirschkop, believed Bazile’s racist opinion contributed to the case’s eventually moving on to the Supreme Court.
3. Interracial couples weren’t truly free until 2000.
On June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled in their favor, overturning bans on interracial marriage in 16 states. But not all of those states immediately complied. Alabama, the last holdout, didn’t repeal its antimiscegenation law until 2000.
4. Sadly, the Lovings’ story was cut short.
Just eight years after the Supreme Court ruling, the Lovings’ car was hit by a drunk driver. Richard was killed in the accident. His widow continued to live in the Virginia house that Richard had built for her until she died at age 68 in 2008.