Mildred and Richard’s Sacrifice is Our Obligation

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States, Virginia on 2017-06-13 17:11Z by Steven

Mildred and Richard’s Sacrifice is Our Obligation

The Multiracial Activist
June 13, 2017

James Landrith, Founder and Publisher

50 years ago yesterday, Mildred Loving decided that the Commonwealth of Virginia was wrong to keep her and her husband away from their home and family. She decided that it was unacceptable for Judge Leon Bazile’s racist conservative Christian defense of the law to have the last word. She wanted to live with her husband in the community where they both grew up. What she wanted was far from unreasonable, unless of course, you were a white racist cop or judge in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Then, you had a magical divine sanction to ruin other people’s lives via the abhorrent Racial Integrity Act of 1924.

In his January 22, 1965 refusal to vacate the 1959 felony conviction of Mildred and Richard, Judge Bazile wrote,:

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his [arrangement] there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

Take a moment to clean up the vomit from your chin…

Read the entire article here.

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Palma Joy Strand: The politics of Loving v. Virginia

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-03-26 01:35Z by Steven

Palma Joy Strand: The politics of Loving v. Virginia

Omaha World-Herald
Omaha, Nebraska
2017-03-16

Palma Joy Strand, Professor of Law
Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska


Alex Brandon

The writer is a law professor and director of the 2040 Initiative at the Creighton University School of Law.

The year 2017 marks the golden anniversary of the landmark court decision Loving v. Virginia. Fifty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Richard Loving (who happened to be white) and Mildred Jeter (who happened to be black) had a constitutional right to marry.

The right to marry someone of a different race has put down roots. In his book “Racing to Justice,” the writer and social justice advocate john a. powell notes, “Nearly 15 percent, or one in seven, of all new marriages in 2008 were between people of different races or ethnicities.”

These interracial marriages create social ripples. Powell continues, “(M)ore than a third of all adults surveyed reported having a family member whose spouse is of a different race or ethnicity — up from less than a quarter in 2005.” We have moved beyond “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” to routinely having folks of more than one race around our Thanksgiving tables.

Along with mixed-race marriages and families, the proportion of the U.S. population with multiple racial heritages has grown dramatically. The Pew Research Center found in 2013 that the share of multiracial babies had risen from 1 percent in 1970 to 10 percent in 2013.

Loving marriages and Loving families and Loving children have transformed who we are as a nation. In the midst of continued racial separation, there are racial connections — connections that disrupt the same-old, same-old stories.

Yet the relevance of Richard and Mildred Loving and Loving v. Virginia today transcends both marriage and race…

Read the entire article here.

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When the Serendipitously Named Lovings Fell in Love, Their World Fell Apart

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2016-12-28 01:13Z by Steven

When the Serendipitously Named Lovings Fell in Love, Their World Fell Apart

Smithsonian.com
2016-12-23

Christopher Wilson, Director of the African American History Program and Experience and Program Design
Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.

The new film captures the quiet essence of the couples’ powerful story, says Smithsonian scholar Christopher Wilson

“My theory is, strong people don’t need strong leaders,” said human rights leader Ella Baker, who worked behind the scenes of the Black Freedom Movement for more than five decades. Her vision of participatory democracy was eloquently summed up in the composition “Ella’s Song,” written by Bernice Johnson Reagon, founding member of the music ensemble “Sweet Honey in the Rock.”

Not needing to clutch for power, not needing the light just to shine on me

I need to be just one in the number as we stand against tyranny.

The song honors Baker’s organic and populist activist philosophy of ordinary people working at the grassroots to create a more humane nation.

The story of Mildred and Richard Loving whose decade-long fight to live their lives, follow their hearts, and stay in their home culminated in the 1967 landmark case Loving v. Virginia that struck down laws against interracial marriage in the United States follows this sentiment.

Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter grew up in a rural community in Caroline County, Virginia. Despite statewide laws, rules and customs designed to keep the races separate, the Lovings’ community, isolated and agricultural, was quite integrated.

In the face of the long-held sexual taboos at the heart of white supremacist violence, the serendipitously named Lovings fell in love, but unlike others who kept such relationships hidden, in 1958 they drove to Washington, D.C., where they could legally get married.

The Lovings kept to themselves, but eventually word got out about their marriage. “Somebody talked,” Richard Loving said. Weeks later, they were arrested for violating Virginia’s 1924 Racial Integrity Act after a late night bedroom raid by the local sheriff, who was hoping to catch them having sex, which was also illegal. The Lovings pled guilty in January 1959 and were sentenced to one year in prison, but their sentence was suspended on the condition that they leave Virginia and not return together for 25 years. They couple moved to the District of Colombia, but longed to go home to the community they knew and loved. Five years later, in 1964, Mildred Loving sought relief by writing Attorney General Robert Kennedy and asking for help. Kennedy referred them to the American Civil Liberties Union, and three years later the Supreme Court unanimously ruled race-based legal restrictions on marriage unconstitutional.

The recently released film Loving, written and directed by Jeff Nichols and based on the wonderful 2011 documentary The Loving Story by Nancy Buirski, powerfully and artfully tells this story and testifies to the ability of feature films to take on historical subjects and add to public understanding of the past without fabricating events and misleading viewers…

Read the entire article here.

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Opinion of Judge Leon M. Bazile (January 22, 1965)

Posted in Law, Statements, United States, Virginia on 2016-12-19 01:20Z by Steven

Opinion of Judge Leon M. Bazile (January 22, 1965)

Source: Encyclopedia Virginia

In this written judgment, dated January 22, 1965, Leon M. Bazile, judge of the Caroline County Circuit Court, refuses a motion on behalf of Richard and Mildred Loving to vacate their 1959 conviction for violating the state law that forbids interracial marriage. The Lovings eventually appealed their case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in their favor in 1967.

The parties were guilty of a most serious crime. As said by the Court in Kinney’s Case 30 Gratt 865: “It was a marriage prohibited and declared absolutely void. It was contrary to the declared public law, founded upon motives of public policy—a public policy affirmed for more than a Century, and one upon which social order, public morality and the best interests of both races depend. This unmistakable policy of the legislature founded, I think, on wisdom and the moral development of both races, has been shown by not only declaring marriages between whites and negroes absolutely void, but by prohibiting and punishing such unnatural alliances with severe penalties. The laws enacted to further uphold this declared policy would be futile and a dead letter if in fraud of these salutary enactments, both races might, by stepping across any imaginary line bid defiance to the law by immediately returning and insisting that the marriage celebrated in another state or county should be recognized as lawful, though denounced by the public law of the domicile as unlawful and absolutely void.”

Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his [arrangement] there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix…

Read the entire opinion here.

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Beacon Goes to the Movies: “Loving” and the History of White Supremacy

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2016-12-17 22:55Z by Steven

Beacon Goes to the Movies: “Loving” and the History of White Supremacy

Beacon Broadside: A Project of Beacon Press
2016-12-15

Ayla Zuraw-Friedland, Editorial Assistant

When publicity assistant Perpetua Charles and senior editor Joanna Green first began planning a staff trip to see the film Loving in celebration of Beacon’s forthcoming book on the same topic five months ago, they couldn’t have known for sure what our political environment would be as they and fellow members of the Beacon Press staff walked through a rainy November night to the theater. Exactly a week after the country watched the electoral votes tally in favor of a divisive Republican presidential candidate, we came together to view a retelling of how Mildred and Richard Loving, a young interracial couple from Virginia, helped end the ban on interracial marriage in the United States.

“Biopics like this leave you with an overwhelming sense of hope, right? Making you think that as soon as the anti-miscegenation laws were overturned, every interracial couple was getting married left and right and naysayers kept their mouths shut. But that’s surely not what happened,” Perpetua said, going into the film.

From reading an early copy of Sheryll Cashin’s upcoming book, Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy, I gradually came to the understanding that the story this film set out to tell feels big because it is big. Not only is it the story of Richard and Mildred Loving—their love, their decision to formally wed, their beloved hometown of Central Point, Virginia turning against them, their exile to Washington D.C., and the ten years they spent mired in the legal battle that would culminate in the seminal Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision. It is also a four hundred-year-old story of people defying a deeply entrenched and fiercely protected color line to love or marry in America. It is a story that has gone on for as long as this country has existed, and as this election has confirmed, is nowhere near over…

Read the entire review here.

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Evolution of interracial marriage

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Videos, Virginia on 2016-11-30 23:58Z by Steven

Evolution of interracial marriage

WSLS-TV 10
Roanoke, Virginia
2016-11-22

Brie Jackson, Anchor/Reporter

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) – The story of one Virginia couple whose love for one another changed history is being shown on the big screen nationwide including the Grandin Theatre.

Loving” tells the story of Mildred and Richard Loving. He was white, she was black and Native American. Decades ago, their marriage was against the law in Virginia and several other states. Their love story broke barriers for interracial couples.

In 1958, the couple married in Washington, D.C. where it was legal, but returned home to Virginia and were arrested. A judge sentenced the couple to prison unless they left the commonwealth for 25 years. They did, but returned to the state five years later and were jailed again. Eventually their case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where the court ruled the ban on interracial marriage unconstitutional.

That 1967 decision paved the way for others to marry who they love regardless of race.

“The bottom-line, if you love someone it does not matter the color of your skin,” said Pamela Casey.

Pamela and Corwin Casey’s love story begins in 1980 when Corwin was an activities director at a children’s home in North Carolina. Pamela said they met on her first day. She arrived as a volunteer from her church in Ohio

Read the entire article here.

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In ‘Loving,’ an American story about a marriage worth fighting for

Posted in History, Interviews, Law, Media Archive, United States, Videos, Virginia on 2016-11-17 01:32Z by Steven

In ‘Loving,’ an American story about a marriage worth fighting for

PBS NewsHour
2016-11-15

A new movie, “Loving,” tells the real-life story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a Virginia couple who were arrested because interracial marriage was illegal in their home state. They appealed their case and won a landmark civil rights ruling at the Supreme Court. Jeffrey Brown speaks with director Jeff Nichols and others about how they brought the love story to the screen.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The film “Loving” opened nationwide over the weekend. It tells the true story of Richard and Loving, rural Virginians of different races who married in Washington, D.C.

On return to their home in Virginia, they were arrested for violating laws against interracial marriage. Their case eventually made it to the Supreme Court.

Jeffrey Brown has our story.

JOEL EDGERTON, Actor, “Richard Loving”: I’m going to build you a house right here, our house.

JEFFREY BROWN: “Loving” tells the real-life love story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a Virginia couple who married in 1958 in Washington, D.C., because interracial marriage was illegal in their home state…

Read the entire story here.

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“We Were Married on the Second Day of June, and the Police Came After Us the 14th of July.”

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2016-11-13 23:21Z by Steven

 

“We Were Married on the Second Day of June, and the Police Came After Us the 14th of July.”

The Washingtonian
2016-11-02

Hillary Kelly, Design & Style Editor


Richard and Mildred Loving. Photograph by Grey Villet.

An oral history, nearly 50 years later, of the landmark Virginia case that legalized interracial marriage—and is the subject of a talked-about movie out this month.

In June 1958, Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving drove from their home in Central Point, Virginia, to Washington, DC, to be married. Twenty-four states, including Virginia, still outlawed interracial marriage at the time. Mildred was part Native American and part African-American; Richard was white. Their union would eventually result in their banishment from the state and a nine-year legal battle.

On November 4, almost 50 years after the Supreme Court’s 1967 decision that the Lovings’ marriage was valid—and that marriage is a universal right—Hollywood is set to release Loving, already on Oscar lists. As director Jeff Nichols explained when asked why he took on the project, “We have very painful wounds in this country, and they need to be brought out into the light. And it’s gonna be an awkward, uncomfortable, painful conversation that’s going to continue for a while.”

The movie focuses on Mildred and Richard’s romance. We looked behind the scenes of the struggle itself, talking to insiders including the couple’s attorneys—then just out of law school—to revisit the case. One remarkable aspect: Unlike other civil-rights champions of their era, the Lovings never set out to change the course of history. “What happened, we real­ly didn’t intend for it to happen,” Mildred said in 1992. “What we wanted, we wanted to come home.”

This is the story of how a quiet couple from rural Virginia brought about marriage equality for themselves, and for all…

Read the entire article here.

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Opinion/Commentary: The facts behind loving, law, and ‘Loving’

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2016-11-13 21:44Z by Steven

Opinion/Commentary: The facts behind loving, law, and ‘Loving’

The Daily Progress
Charlottesville, Virginia
2016-11-13

Jeff E. Schapiro, Politics columnist
Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia


Focus Features via AP
Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga protray an interracial couple from Virginia whose romance and marraiage made history. The story or Richard and Mildred Loving is told, Hollywood-style in the movie “Loving.”

In 1963, Bernie Cohen, a lawyer in Alexandria, was representing Richard and Mildred Loving, a mixed-race couple from Virginia facing a predicament considered unthinkable today: They’d been banished from the state for 25 years for violating its prohibition on interracial marriage.

Living in Washington, D.C., where interracial marriage was legal and where they were wed in 1958, the Lovings wanted to return home, to rural Caroline County. To get there would require a long journey through the courts.

Having lost the initial challenge in state court, Cohen consulted with his constitutional law professor at Georgetown University, Chester Antieau. He introduced Cohen to another former student, Phil Hirschkop.

Cohen and Hirschkop were alike: Both were Jewish boys from Brooklyn who had settled in segregationist Harry Byrd’s Virginia. They also were liberals, committed to racial equality and social justice at a time when both could be scarce, especially in the American South.

It was Cohen’s and Hirschkop’s different legal backgrounds — the former was a trial lawyer; the latter, a civil rights lawyer — that would bring them together for the successful battle that concluded with a 1967 ruling by a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court voiding Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute and those of 15 other states.

The decision allowed the Lovings — he was white; she was black — to openly live out their days in Caroline County.

Ahead of the 50th anniversary of a ruling on marriage equality that would presage the Supreme Court order legalizing same-sex marriage in 2015, a new film by Jeff Nichols, the writer-director, recounts the couple’s ordeal…

Read the entire article here.

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Hollywood has long shown discomfort with interracial couples, but change is happening

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-11-11 02:22Z by Steven

Hollywood has long shown discomfort with interracial couples, but change is happening

The Los Angeles Times
2016-11-10

Lewis Beale


Katherine Houghton puts a flower in Sidney Poitier’s hair in a scene from the film “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.” (Getty Images)

In 1967, the same year the Supreme Court case Loving vs. Virginia struck down laws banning miscegenation, Sidney Poitier starred in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” as a black man romantically involved with blond Katherine Houghton.

Yet in both real and reel life, black-white romantic relationships were problematic, fraught with legal and social taboos. In the case of Loving, that meant rural Virginia couple Richard and Mildred Loving, who married in Washington, D.C., in 1958, were arrested in their home state, forced to move away or be jailed, and spent years fighting the racist law that affected them until the Supreme Court unanimously overturned it.

“The fact any miscegenation laws even existed, these are vestiges of slavery,” says Jeff Nichols, director of “Loving,” a new film based on the famous case starring Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga. “All of this speaks to the institutionalized racism in the South.”

“Guess,” which was released six months after the Loving decision, was, in its own way, meant to be a liberal antidote to situations like this. In director Stanley Kramer’s film,  parents and friends of the romantic couple discuss the pros and cons of their romance in a civilized manner until the woman’s father (played by Spencer Tracy) gives his blessing to the relationship…

Read the entire article here.

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