Interracial Relationships and Loving v. Virginia

Interracial Relationships and Loving v. Virginia

CityLine Boston
WCVB Boston

Karen Holmes Ward, Director of Public Affairs and Community Services; Host and Executive Producer of CityLine

Marcia Alesan Dawkins, Visiting Scholar
Brown University

Ken Tanabe, President and Founder

Dr. Dawkins discusses the ongoing impact of interracial romantic relationships, multiracial identities and passing in the United States with Loving Day founder Ken Tanabe and CityLine host Karen Holmes Ward.

Notes by Steven F. Riley: There are several significant inaccuracies in this video.

  1. Interracial marriage was in fact legal, not illegal, in most states 44 years ago.  Only 16 states had bans on interracial marriage at that time.
  2. Ms. Ward’s comment, “No steps were taken to change the law until one appropriately named couple fought for their rights…” is grossly inaccurate.  There was no one “law” to ban such marriages in the United States. Each state had its own anti-miscegenation statute.  Most importantly, the battle to end anti-miscegenation (anti-interracial marriage) laws in the United States was a 50 year struggle which included such landmark cases like California Supreme Court: Perez v. Sharp (1948), U.S. Supreme Court: McLaughlin v. Florida (1964) and ending of course, with Loving v. Virginia (1967).
  3. Mr. Tanabe’s comment, “After the case, for the first time, interracial marriage was legalized in the United States.” is incorrect.  Loving v. Virginia did not legalize interracial marriage in the United States.  It legalized interracial marriage only in the remaining 15 states (Maryland repealed its law during the case) that still had bans on such marriages.  In fact, there were 10 states that never enacted any bans on interracial marriage. Mr. Tanabe seems to have forgotten that Mildred and Richard Loving (the plaintiffs in the case) were legally married in Washington, D.C. in June of 1958, six months before they were arrested for violating the section of the law which prohibited interracial couples from being married out of state and then returning to Virginia.

To get a comprehensive view of anti-miscegenation laws and their impact on race relations in the United States, please read Peggy Pascoe’s multiple award winning book, What Comes Naturally, Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America. Also, please read my thoughts about the misreprentation of the Loving v. Virginia case in contemporary discourses.

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