In honor of Valentine's Day, I wanted to share the story of Richard & Mildred Loving, a story that I first learned of many years ago watching a Showtime movie (albeit historically inaccurate according to Mildred Loving). Richard and Mildred Loving were a married interracial couple who was criminally charged, jailed, and ordered to leave the state of Virginia. For many years they were family friends and eventually love bloomed between them. In 1958 when Mildred became pregnant, the couple decided to marry and headed to Washington D.C. to do so. Not long after they returned to Virgina, they were awakened from their sleep in the middle of the night by cops who bursted into their bedroom with glaring flashlights and hauled them off to jail. They were convicted of "cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth" and avoided jail time by agreeing to a sentence that stipulated they could not return together or at the same time for 25 years.
In 1963 (a time when interracial marriages were illegal in 17 states) after several years of living in exile and unable to visit family and friends together, Mildred Loving wrote the A.C.L.U. and this action sparked a series of court battles that ultimately ended with a Supreme Court ruling in their favor in 1967. In the years that followed, the Lovings shied away from the public eye, choosing instead to live a private ordinary life until Richard Loving's death in 1975 at the hands of a drunk driver. For her remaining years until her death in 2008, Mildred Loving never remarried and spent the rest of her life loving her family. The Lovings' story has been told many times through countless articles, several books, and a movie. You can also read Mildred Loving's statement from 2007 in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Loving vs Virginia announcement here. While many see the Lovings experience as monumental and historic, Mildred Loving maintained that what was accomplished through their struggle was "the Lord's doing."