'Loving Day' Personified in Presidential Race
Morning Edition, June 12, 2008 · June 12 is celebrated by many interracial couples and families as "Loving Day." It's the day in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the laws banning interracial marriage. The day is named for the couple who brought the case to court, Richard and Mildred Loving. Commentator John Ridley has a remembrance
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Loving Day is an annual celebration held on June 12, the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in 16 states citing "There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause," . In the United States, anti-miscegenation laws were state laws banning interracial marriage, mainly forbidding marriage between non-whites and whites. Loving Day is not an officially, government-recognized holiday, but is celebrated by a growing number of people throughout the United States, especially by those involved in interracial relationships.
The "Loving" side of the U.S. Supreme Court case consisted of Mildred and Richard Loving. Mildred Jeter was 11 when she and 17-year-old Richard began dating, and she became pregnant a few years later. They got married in Washington in 1958, when she was 18. Reportedly, Mildred didn't realize interracial marriage was illegal, and they were arrested a few weeks after they returned to their hometown north of Richmond. They pleaded guilty to charges of "cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth," and avoided jail time by agreeing to leave Virginia. They moved to Washington, D.C. and began legal action by writing to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy referred the case to the American Civil Liberties Union. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of the young couple, they returned to Virginia, where they lived with their three children. Mildred Loving died May 5, 2008 at the age of 68. Richard Loving died years earlier in a car accident. Each June 12, the anniversary of the ruling, Loving Day events around the country mark the advances of mixed-race couples