Richard Loving, a white man, met Mildred Jeter, a family friend who was of African and Native American descent, when both were teenagers, and their relationship quickly blossomed into romance. In June 1958 the couple drove 80 miles from their native Virginia, where so-called “anti-miscegenation” laws made interracial unions illegal, to exchange their vows in Washington, D.C. Five weeks later, police officers walked through their unlocked front door and awakened the newlyweds in the middle of the night. When a sheriff asked what he was “doing in bed with this lady,” 24-year-old Richard simply pointed at the marriage certificate hanging on the wall. Arrested and charged with “cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth,” the Lovings were sentenced to one year in prison or a 25-year exile from their home state.

The couple relocated to Washington, where they lived for five years and had three children. Missing their family and friends back home, in 1963 they contacted U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who referred them to the American Civil Liberties Union. Volunteer lawyers ultimately took the case all the way to the Supreme Court, which in the landmark Loving v. Virginia decision of 1967 unanimously ruled that bans on racial intermarriage in Virginia and 15 other states were unconstitutional. Richard was killed in a car crash in 1975, and Mildred remained in the Virginia house he had built her until her death in 2008.


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    Sad yet amazing story.
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