Thursday, March 31, 2016

Richard and Mildred: A Loving Story

I was recently alerted by a friend of the release date of yet another film I've been highly anticipating. This time around it's Loving, the true tale of Richard and Mildred Loving, married parents of two sons and a daughter. In 1958 the Lovings, an interracial couple, traveled to Washington DC to get married, returning to their native environs of rural Virginia to enjoy socializing with friends and family, attend weekend drag races and raise their three children until the authorities intervened to split them up, citing a state law making marriage between blacks and whites illegal. Although sentenced to a year in jail, this was suspended for 25 years on the condition that they leave their home state. The defiant Richard and Mildred, having resettled in Washington, DC, continually snuck back for visits with family and friends until getting caught. The homesick Lovings' desire to live their lives in Caroline County led them to seek the assistance of Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, who referred them to the ACLU. ACLU attorneys helped wage a nine-year battle to legalize their nine-year marriage and the determined couple became victorious, when on June 12, 1967, the US Supreme Court validated their union and made interracial marriage legal in the states where it had previously been forbidden. Tragically, Mildred was widowed in 1975 when Richard was killed in a car accident in which she was injured. Mrs. Loving never remarried and remained devoted to her husband's memory until her 2008 death, a powerful and steadfast testament to two folks who never set out to make history, just to be happy, in love and at home with each other.

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