Mildred & Richard Loving led the way to legally make the banning of interracial marriage illegal simply by not accepting the laws that violated their civil rights to share their love and be married. On Loving Day, June 12th, we annually celebrate their bravery and the result of their case.
About Loving Day:
Loving v. Virginia 1967 – the final ruling of this Supreme Court case made anti-miscegenation illegal (these were laws that enforced racial segregation in marriage and intimate relationships – basically making it illegal to marry outside of your own race). By law, people of different racial backgrounds – most notably & controversially black and white – who were married and who wanted to get married, could legally do so in the states that had previously forbade it. Each June 12, we in America commemorate this triumphant feat. Happy Loving Day! I didn’t even know it existed until 2014 when I watched the documentary on Netflix. I highly recommend it.
Quick Facts About Loving Day and Loving vs. Virginia:
- The Loving vs. Virginia U.S. Supreme Court ruling was cited as precedent in U.S. federal court cases about restrictions on same-sex marriage, meaning the fight that the Lovings gave is continuing to help protect the rights of more Americans to this day.
- The court’s decision was unanimous – 9 to 0 voting to overturn the criminal convictions that the Lovings faced for being wed, as well as striking down laws that forbade two people of different races to marry each other.
What Loving Day means to me:
Family means the world to me. Reaching out to my family members, calling to check on my nephew and younger cousins and being on the small committee that plans our family reunion – these all keep us connected. My NeeNee, my mom’s eldest sister, makes sure to keep our ancestry.com account updated with all of the happenings with family near and far. Our family tree stops at a dead halt just a few branches up though.
My maternal Great-Grandmother, Mabel
My Grandfather, Lucian (Mabel’s son)
Many people of European descent can trace their family members back several generations and understand the legacy that they come from. I, being the result of the great American mixing pot, particularly African-American, do not have that luxury. Aside from the fact that slave owners successfully broke all ties of African slaves and their home and lineage, and obliterated their African traditions, I also come from a diverse lineage. Stories of one Granny telling me about “my big fat Indian grandfather” and memories of asking my other Granny “who is that white man on the wall?” (her late husband/my grandfather – who is actually black, possibly with white ancestors) stick out most in my mind. Loving someone of another color was illegal and dangerous, so shame, fear, and law-breaking were associated with interracial relationships. While diversity in all aspects is being shown in a positive light in recent times, before the 1970s, diversity in love was viewed as especially heinous. I still ponder in my mind how in the world the color of skin can create such hate, but I know I will never understand it. I can only promote love.
My great-grandmother, lovingly called “Mama Mable,” is of multiracial heritage. It is believed that her father was a “mulatto” (a derogatory term describing someone of biracial or multiracial heritage). She remembered being raised earlier on by a white school teacher after her mother and grandmother died. Not much else is known of my family’s heritage before her generation. Imagine how much more complete my recorded family tree would be in the absence of racism and laws that sought to keep people of different races separated.
Thanks to people like the Lovings:
I like to think that my great-grandmother and our ancestors are smiling down on me right now. She never knew her real heritage, and she never knew me, but the chains that forbade the former have been broken. The majority of her great-great grandchildren are multiracial, and it is perfectly fine. My best friends come from a wide range of races and ethnicities. I am in a loving interracial relationship, and am blessed to have not experienced any discrimination. The world is still not perfect, but many people have let go of hatred and embraced diversity. We have a long way to go, but thank goodness we aren’t where we used to be. Just a suggestion, though: Let’s make everyday Loving Day ?
Updates – My Family Celebrating Loving Day Over the Years
Loving Day 2015
Our first Loving Day together.
Loving Day 2016
We got married and were 6 months pregnant with Little Boo on Loving Day 2016.
Loving Day 2017
We got to enjoy Loving Day with this little cutie, our Little Boo, in 2017.
Loving Day 2018
Brunch with the fam on Loving Day 2018.
Loving Day 2019
Apparently we sat at home and had the nerve to not even take pictures! Enjoy another picture of Mildred & Richard Loving.
Loving Day 2020
At home photoshoot during the pandemic on our anniversary / Loving Day 2020.