“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…

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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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The Loving Story

Posted in History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Videos, Virginia on 2012-02-14 04:18Z by Steven

The Loving Story

Home Box Office (HBO)
2012-02-14, 21:00 EST

Nancy Buirski, Director and Producer

In June 2, 1958, a white man named Richard Loving and his part-black, part-Cherokee fiancée Mildred Jeter travelled from Caroline County, VA to Washington, D.C. to be married. At the time, interracial marriage was illegal in 21 states, including Virginia. Back home two weeks later, the newlyweds were arrested, tried and convicted of the felony crime of “miscegenation.” To avoid a one-year jail sentence, the Lovings agreed to leave the state; they could return to Virginia, but only separately. Living in exile in D.C. with their children, the Lovings missed their families and dearly wanted to return to their rural home. At the advice of her cousin, Mildred wrote a letter to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who wrote her back suggesting she get in touch with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Two young ACLU lawyers, Bernard S. Cohen and Philip J. Hirschkop, took on the Lovings’ case, fully aware of the challenges posed at a time when many Americans were vehement about segregation and maintaining the “purity of the races.” In interviews filmed at the time, the two lawyers dissect the absurdities of the laws and the difficulties of trying a case over five years old. Today, Hirschkop recalls that Mildred was quiet and articulate, while joking that his initial impression of Richard was that he looked like a crew-cut “redneck.” As they came to know them, however, it became apparent that the couple was deeply committed to each other. With an eye towards taking their case to the highest possible court, Cohen filed a motion to vacate the judgment on the Lovings’ original conviction and set aside the sentence. Local Judge Leon Bazile denied the motion, stating that God had separated people by continents and did not “intend for the races to mix.” After the Virginia Supreme Court responded with similarly antiquated and racist sentiments, Cohen and Hirschkop seized the opportunity to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Although the odds of getting a case heard by the Court were slim, Cohen and Hirschkop learned that Loving v. Virginia would be heard on April 10, 1967. Aware that their case had the potential to set a landmark precedent, the two green lawyers (Hirschkop was only two years out of law school and had never argued before the Supreme Court) prepped in New York before heading to the famous Supreme Court building in D.C. In oral arguments heard on audiotape, the State compared anti-miscegenation statutes to the right to prohibit incest, polygamy, and underage marriage, claiming that children are victims in an interracial marriage. The plaintiff’s lawyers, by contrast, included legal arguments interspersed with references to sociology and anthropology. And though the Lovings chose not to attend, Cohen may have made the most compelling case by relaying to Chief Justice Warren and his fellow judges Richard’s simple message: “Tell the court that I love my wife, and it is unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.”

After a two-month wait, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the Lovings on June 12, 1967. This precedent-setting decision resulted in 16 states being ordered to overturn their bans on interracial marriage. Alabama was the last holdout, finally repealing its anti-miscegenation law in 2000.

Preview – The Loving Story

The Loving Story Director’s Interview
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‘The Loving Story’ to premiere in Caroline County

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2012-02-06 16:28Z by Steven

‘The Loving Story’ to premiere in Caroline County

The Free Lance-Star
Fredericksburg, Virginia
2012-02-04

Jonas Beals

Caroline County will get the red-carpet treatment Saturday evening.

HBO, Comcast and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia are hosting an invitation-only screening of the new HBO documentary “The Loving Story” at the Caroline County Community Services Center.

The film tells the story of Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple from Caroline County who married in 1958, only to be arrested and convicted of violating Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws. Their case eventually made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, where their victory ended laws against interracial marriage across the country

Read the entire article here.

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