Mildred and Richard Loving fell in love and were married in Washington, D.C. in 1958. When they returned to their home state of Virginia, the couple was arrested and jailed. Their only crime: Mildred was black, Richard was white, and in 1958 Virginia, their marriage was a criminal act. The Virginia judge who sentenced the couple said to them, “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”
The couple was sentenced to a year in jail each, but was given the option of leaving the state of Virginia in order to avoid a prison sentence. They were sentenced to a 25-year exile from the state. However, wanting to live as a married couple and raise their children in Virginia, the Lovings decided to fight.
When arguing their case before the United States Supreme Court, the attorney for the Lovings stated, “The Lovings have the right to go to sleep at night knowing that if should they not wake in the morning, their children would have the right to inherit from them. They have the right to be secure in knowing that, if they go to sleep and do not wake in the morning, that one of them, a survivor of them, has the right to Social Security benefits. All of these are denied to them, and they will not be denied to them if the whole anti-miscegenistic scheme of Virginia… [is] found unconstitutional.” The argument won over the Justices, and through their bravery and their commitment, the Lovings made history.
In honor of this courageous couple, and so many others like them, the Loving Day Project was created. The annual Loving Day celebration commemorates the June12, 1967 United States Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia, which declared all laws against interracial marriage to be contrary to the Constitution.
In some states, there are small celebrations; other states hold larger festivities. The largest celebration, with over 1500 participants expected to attend, will be held in New York City on Saturday, June 15, 2013 from 3:00 – 7:00 pm at Solar 1, located on the East River waterfront at 23rd Street in Manhattan (2420 FDR Drive, Service Road East, New York, NY 10010). There will be free beer for the first hour and free barbecue all day. Also, don’t miss out on performances by New York City DJs: Dhundee, DJ Eko, and Deep Just. Come take part in this annual celebration of love and recognition of civil rights.