The Supreme Court rules in favor of interracial marriage on June 12, 1967, in its landmark decision, Loving v. Virginia. At the time, interracial marriage was still illegal in 17 states, including West Virginia.
What crime had Mildred and Richard Loving committed? Getting married in 1958 despite their racial differences – Mildred was a black woman and Richard, a white man.
Wed in D.C., the couple settled in Central Point, a small town in Virginia, where police conducted a middle-of-the-night raid and found them sleeping in the same bed. They were sentenced to a year in prison for violating Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws.
By the time the case made its way before the nation’s high court, the Lovings were the parents of three. Their union endured until 1975 when Richard died in a car crash caused by a drunk driver.
In 2007, a year before her death at 68, Mildred spoke out:
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the ‘wrong kind of person’ for me … I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry.”