Lovings v. Virginia

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We can’t help who we are attracted to and who we fall in love with, therefore no one has the right to tell us otherwise. These words may sound redundant, however they are true. Richard Loving, a Caucasian man fell in love with a woman of African American and Rappahannock Native American descent named Mildred. Richard Loving married Mildred, which went against the anti-miscegenation laws in the state of Virginia. The couple grew up in a farming community where poor blacks and whites helped each other with their crops and shared what they produced together. The mixing of races was done in the rustic King and Queen County of Virginia; however the marriage of Richard and Mildred Loving would be brought to the fore front and eventually all the way to the Supreme Court. The Loving Couple was not prepared for the struggles they would face for simply being in love.

The ant-miscegenation law was placed in select states before the United States declared their complete independence from British rule. The anti- miscegenation laws enforced racial segregation at the level of marriage and intimate relationships by “criminalizing interracial marriages.” The Racial Integrity Act of 1924 was a part of the anti-miscegenation laws, which “prohibited marriage between people classified as white and people classified as colored.” Richard and Mildred Loving got their marriage license in Washington D.C; however they went back to their hometown Central Point, Virginia. The Loving Couple was forced out of their home to be arrested and were sentenced to a year in prison. The marriage license was used as criminal evidence against the Loving couple. Richard and Mildred Loving pled guilty and the sentence was suspended, however the Loving couple was instructed to either terminate their marriage or leave their hometown. In 1959 the Loving couple moved to Washington D.C. They were forced to leave their family behind and face an unknown future as an interracial couple. Even after the couple moved, racism still followed them. Richard Loving was forced to move his family into a property shrunken neighborhood Washington D.C, because affluent neighborhoods, which were all white, would not accept his “colored” wife. The racism only continued to get worst after their first child was born. It was difficult for Richard Loving to keep a place of employment once his employer found out about his “colored” family. The Loving couple grew frustrated with the “social isolation” and providing properly for their growing family became increasing impossible. The constant hardships also started to strain their marriage; nonetheless the Loving couple refused to let the problems of others becomes theirs. According to Mildred Loving “the straw that broke the camel’s back” was when her youngest son was struck by a car in the property stricken neighborhood.

In 1964 Mildred Loving decided to write to Robert F. Kennedy about the racial prejudice she and her husband faced. From there the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a motion on behalf of the Lovings which stated the fourteenth amendment (equal protection clause) had been violated by the state of Virginia. In 1967 the case eventually went to the Supreme Court which ruled in favor of the Loving Couple. The anti-miscegenation laws violated the Equal Protection Clause under the fourteenth amendment and did not follow the Due Process Clause. Before the decision was made Richard Loving instructed his attorney, Bernard S. Cohen, to tell the court “I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.” From that point on Richard Loving lived with his wife in Virginia until his car was hit by a drunk driver, which killed him instantly in 1975. Millard Loving survived the car wreck but she lost her right eye in the process. When the Virginia legislative finally stopped harassing the couple for loving each other, the couple was torn apart due to an irresponsible driver.

No one has the right to take our God given right to love someone. We have one life to live and it should be spent with the spouse of our choice. Loving v. Virginia is a landmark civil rights case that has not only affected me, but my entire generation. Today you will find countless interracial relationships which in turn produce multi-racial children. The open display of mixing races would be a criminal act if it were not for the Loving couple and many other interracial couples who fought against racial injustice. The Lovings wanted to live a normal life and did not plan a fight for civil rights; however they unknowingly changed the United States. The Loving couple simply wanted to love each other as husband and wife and raise their children in Virginia. Richard Loving did not let racial prejudice deter his love for the woman he was meant to be with. “I will not divorce her and if I have to leave with her again I will.”- Richard Loving.

As a woman of African American and Cherokee Native American descent, I am free to choose a spouse of any nationality. If I choose to marry a white man it will not be against the law. As a “colored” woman, if I choose to procreate a “white” man; my husband doesn’t have to take me to a “colored” hospital like Richard Loving had to do. The purpose of segregation in the south was to stop the races from loving one another. Richard and Mildred Loving crossed the lines and loved each other as husband and wife. Racial prejudice still exist, however I have the comfort of knowing that when I lay on the chest of my white husband, if I choose to marry outside my race, no police men will break down my door and take me to jail.

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