Mr. & Mrs. Loving, together again
Mildred Jeter Loving, who together with her husband, Richard, filed suit to get the miscegnation laws off the books in their home state of Virginia, died of pneumonia on May 2nd at the relatively young age of 68.
You may have seen the Showtime movie about the Lovings that starred Timothy Hutton and Lela Rochon. The Lovings came from a part of Virginia where sex between races was not considered a big deal (it was much more open than in most areas of the South), but marriage just wasn't done. Sheriff deputies barged into their bedroom in 1958, just a few months after they were married, and hauled them off to jail (naturally, Mrs. Loving was kept incarcerated longer than Mr. Loving). The couple pled guilty to breaking the law and were banished from the state in lieu of not having to spend more time in jail.
By 1963, Mildred Loving had had enough of living in Washington DC and wrote to Attorney General Robert Kennedy. The ACLU took on the case and eventually overturned the decision and did away with the law. The Lovings returned home in 1967 and lived happily, but not ever after. Richard was killed in a car crash in 1975, in which Mildred, riding with him, lost an eye.
Mildred Loving, who according to her obiturary considered herself more Indian than black (a sentiment that may have lived in her heart, but certainly not in her physical appearance), lived out the rest of her life quietly, declining to give interviews.
They're together again, this time for good.

2 comments:

Patricia W. said...

Never heard this story, although I'm aware of the miscegnation laws that were enforced primarily in the South. How interesting.

bettye griffin said...

Patricia,
I'm e-mailing you more info on the Lovings. Check out the movie if you can; like all made-for-cable productions it's available on DVD.