Loving Day 2013

Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

Judge Leon M. Bazile, Indictment for Felony

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Those infamous words were uttered from the bench on 6 January 1959 by that despicable and without redeeming qualities macaroon, Leon Bazile. The two people he was addressing were Mildred and Richard Loving a married couple, who had been charged with a felony under Virginia’s miscegenation laws, or, as they liked to call it The Racial Integrity Act of 1924.

What made Mildred and Richard special?

Mildred was of African-American and Native-American descent.

Mildred & Richard Loving

Mildred & Richard Loving

Richard was just a plain old American white boy, special cause he was pure don’t you know.

No one there ‘bouts in Central Point, Virginia where they had grown up, dated and fallen in love thought too much about their carousing. Apparently, this happened quite often, white boys sowing their oats and all. The problem was, when 18 year old Mildred became pregnant Richard wanted to do the right thing, not just do the right thing because there was a baby on the way, but because they honestly loved one another. Knowing there was no way to marry in Virginia, the two of them headed over to Washington, D.C. and married, in June of 1958. They returned to their home in Central Point and someone, not liking they were now co-habitating and oh no, they actually made it legal and all, so like all good white folks will do when purity is involved, well they complained to the sheriff.

From this point on, their life becomes hell. After they were found guilty by that asshat of a Judge, they received a one-year jail sentence that was suspended on the condition they leave Virginia for 25 years. Terrible for the young couple, not able to travel home together to see family, transplanted to the big city and unable to find work, plagued by money problems and lonely finally they wrote to then Attorney General Robert Kennedy. AG Kennedy passes their letter to ACLU and Attorney Bernard Cohen. From here history is made.

Richard greets his wife Mildred

Richard greets his wife Mildred

The Loving’s were simple people, simple in their desires and wants. They wanted to be married, raise their children in safety and in the embrace of their family. They wanted nothing more than to return to the small town in Virginia they had been raised, where they had met and fell in love. The Loving’s didn’t attend oral arguments, despite living in Washington. Their attorney asked Mr. Loving if there was anything he should say to the judges, any message he should deliver; in reply Mr. Loving said this,

“Mr. Cohen, tell the Court I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.”

His attorney delivered that message to the court.  This ultimately was the courts response.

Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

Chief Justice Earl Warren, writing for the Unanimous Supreme Court of the United States

Happy Loving Day June 12, 1967

Forty-six years ago today the Supreme Court of the United States ruled anti-miscegenation laws violated both the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This ruling not only affected Virginia but all states that continued to carry these laws on their books.

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It took nine long years, ultimately the Loving’s returned to their beloved Central Point. They didn’t intend to become activist, they only intended to be married and spend a lifetime loving each other, raising their children.

Mildred & Richard Loving

Mildred & Richard Loving

Their sacrifice changed history and created legal precedent. Their choice to fight for what was right swept away one piece of ignorance, it didn’t change hearts, it didn’t change minds but it prevented ignorant hearts and minds from legislating their petty ignorance.

Perhaps we can take a page from their book, remember their sacrifice and start sweeping some more petty ignorance off the table and out of the law books.

What say you?

Happy Loving Day June 12, 2013

Food for thought, without Loving -v- Virginia I could not have done this on 10-July-1999 and I certainly could not live in Texas while continuing to to do it.

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Comments

  1. Happy belated “Loving Day,” Val. So sorry the greeting is late, but I was away celebrating my own Loving Day 🙂 of 34 years. I love this couple and my husband and I owe them so much for all their courage. I currently live in Virginia and I thank God constantly that we can do so in peace. Hugs to you and yours. . .

    • I was just telling my own husband about you and your marriage, knowing your live in Virginia. We were discussing how the world spins so slowly, despite the courage of people like the Loving’s. Congrats on your personal Loving Day.

  2. Wonderful. 🙂

  3. Inspiring story of courage, fortitude, and that love is blind even when justice is not!

  4. What a lovely story about the loving Lovings ! What gentle lovely people… Congratulations on your own Loving Day, Val… this story left me with so much to think about, but most of all of that gentle sweet-faced woman – utterly loveable….

    • Mildred Loving was so shy by all accounts, yet there she was in the middle of a storm. They both actually were very quite shy people, yet look where they found themselves. I loved finding the old interviews with them. she is fabulous.

  5. Val, I just love the fact that Loving’s the name of the couple who helped legalize interracial marriage. Great post. Love your wedding photo. So adorable!

  6. If only the human race were color blind.

    Psst Had to LOL at the lawyers in the video clip. They had the creepiest body language.

  7. one would think the world has changed..sadly not in the part of the world I live..Parenst kill their own daughters/ son marrying someone out of their caste and name it Honour Killing..it is ugly how much people give importance to some old rules someone made than Human lives…..
    it took every ounce of courage by the Loving couple to keep going..i wish such incidents were a thing of paste

    • Oh Soma, my dear friend things have not improved all that much here. Hearts and minds have not changed that much, while it may be legal it is still frowned upon in many parts of the country and still generates terrible acts.

      In your nation, the terrible acts are accepted, even expected. Perhaps this is the real difference.

  8. This was excellent…a great narrative of a history lesson and a peak into your life. Loved it.

  9. This was in the past but nevertheless amazing – only a few years after young people crossed the oceans and died, fighting Nazism and more.

    But racism is prevalent in all countries – and some of the most racist people are Asians. Because in Asia, we don’t openly speak of these things – does not mean it is not there.

    My wife and I married across cultures and we went through quite a bit in the 1970/1980s. It is getting better now – but lurks very much just below the surface.

    • Eric, I don’t think any nation is free of it. Having lived and worked in Singapore I certainly felt some of it and was often amazed at some of what people said.

      Here though, it is so nasty I think because we say one thing and yet under the covers and in the dark we remain so set in a culture of division. I sometimes am devastated by the ugliness I see.

  10. Happy Loving Day, Valentine.
    I can’t think of the title now, but two students wrote a book about a couple in New York (?) in the 50s who married and had to go to court. The female had to undress in court to show what the rest of her colouring was (? can’t remember explanation). HER mother and father were mixed and her sisters were darker than she, like her father was. A most confusing tale, because no case was made against her parents who had been married for years, but the young couple had to separate. Awful. Sad. Heartbreaking story. So much pain for something that is none of anyone’s business.

    • I seem to remember that tale, I don’t know from where. Oddly New York was the only state in the entire nation to never enact anti-miscengenation laws in their entire history. I am going to go on a hunt now though to see if I can’t find the story and satisfy both of us.

  11. And to this I say, where’s the broom? I’m up for a little bit of sweeping.

  12. I used to think this racial prejudice thing was a clash between white and other civilizations, however I’ve learned to my surprise as I’ve located and travelled in other parts of the world that it goes far beyond colour. You will find prejudice within the races of the world too. Sometimes it’s a caste or social thing and sometimes it’s about the shades of colour you happen to be within that race or language grouping. But we all come from common ancestors and need to get that into our collective heads. No one will ever convince me that the kind of laws you refer to are justified and we need to be on the alert to see this never happens again anywhere in the world.

    • Ian, Hi

      I don’t think we can say ‘never happens again’ until we have fully eradicated it from the law books of the world and the hearts and minds of man. The issue is really how we think which allows us to legislate such ignorance in the first place. It is fear, xenophobia and power are rolled into one nasty little ball.

      The language of that fear and hate, it was justified by the Bible. Now we see it again, we hear the very same language condemning Immigrants, condemning the poor, condemning the Gay community. It all comes back to haunt us.

      If we are ever going to progress, if this world is ever to find peace we must once and for all begin to see each other as ‘human’.

  13. —Let us be known by our content–not our color, by our character– not our religion, by our love–not our gender.

    We are SO FAR from the Promised Land, babe. So far.

    Love you. Love your deep, thought provoking, life changing g posts. Xxx

  14. Hey Val, That was a really nice story. I think if there was ever a doubt about that marriage, the fact that they stayed together and fought for nine years says a lot. It is hard to understand why people have to interfere with other people. I understand if someone doesnt like the way another person lives or the decisions they make, but why do they have to get the whole world involved and lead a campaign to stop them from doing it.

    I barely have the energy to manage my own life. I am not going to manage anyone else’s. besides the fact that I dont want to do that, I am just too lazy

    • Unfortunately Tom, Richard was killed by a Drunk Driver 8 years after they returned home. Mildred was injured in the same accident but continued to live in the home Richard built her until 1995 when she also passed on. She never remarried. They did indeed love each other greatly. It is absolutely a wonderful story of love and perservrance.

      You are so right, it is not our business who others love or marry. It is our business though to ensure others have all the same rights to do so. For this we cannot afford to be lazy.

  15. Happy Loving Day Val and what a
    most delightful couple you are 🙂 🙂

    Andro xxxx

    • Thank you Andro, Happy Loving Day to you as well. I don’t think you all have any asinine laws like this in your part of the world, but you can celebrate with us!

      XX

      • No it is live and let live here in the UK and yes I will celebrate with you, I am raising a glass right now actually, of the h2o that is 🙂

        Have a lovely rest of day
        and evening my sweet friend 🙂

        Andro xxxx

  16. Have a great Loving Day Val and may it last the whole of eternity! 🙂

    • We shall see, I hope only right now that as a nation we remember the Loving’s and their battle, their sacrifice. From this I hope we remember the words of Justice Warren.

  17. I “loved” this post, particularly as I too am in a multi-cultural relationship – vive le difference!

  18. AirportsMadeSimple says:

    Happy Loving Day, Val! Hope you have a great one. Take care and have a great week.

  19. Great post, I had no idea that there laws like that still in effect in my lifetime. But I grew up in NY where things are a little more liberal and you didn’t here about most of that. Happy Loving Day!

  20. Great post Val.
    The arguments are so similar to the “battle” now with gay marriage.
    Happy loving day!

  21. Thanks for sharing this and your story. I saw the HBO documentary on this and it makes you think why this could happen in America over 100 years afer the civil war. I went the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro last month at the site of the first sit-in at the Woolworth’s cafe. The museum was extremely well done, but just like above, made you cry and wonder how this maltreatment could have happened in our country not that long ago.

    • I saw that special a few years back, it was very well done. I loved the Loving’s, they were both so quite and shy. Neither of them ever wanted to be in the eye of the storm, yet here they are nearly 50 years later, remembered for this.

      I have been through that Museum, you are right it is well done and does make your knees week. It also makes you wonder, why isn’t it better. The surface has changed, but are we really that much further along?

  22. Happy Loving Day to you and to DB.
    xxx

  23. Well done Val … and Happy Loving Day!

  24. Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    Celebrate Loving Day. Thank you Ms. Logar for sharing this post.

    • Thank you Jueseppi, both for reading and for reblogging. Some day we will achieve equality in this nation. Some day.

      (I do wish you would call me Val)
      🙂

  25. Happy Loving Day, indeed! Thanks for the great blog!

  26. Reblogged this on TheBrabbleRabble and commented:
    Happy Loving Day, which is also my only son’s birthday. This was a wonderful post that makes you think about the continuing struggle for equal rights in the land of the free.

  27. Happy Loving Day, Val. We have several similarly loving marriages in my family. And that is a wonderful thing.

    • That indeed is. I always thought it ironic their name was Loving.

      • I’d wager that their name was one of the reasons this particular case was sent. Because everybody is on the side of loving, right?

        • One would think, that everyone was on the side of Loving but truly I think this was simply the first case that was marriage and the Virginia Racial Integrity Act, was the most horrific of the anti-miscegenation laws of the nation. There were several previous cases of “fornication”. There is a great history of case law leading up to the Loving case, it is horrible but fascinating to read. As Mr. Cohen said to the Warren Court, this is a terrible hold over of Slave Laws and must be struck down.

          • There were some wonderfully courageous folks in and around guv’ment back then. I wonder if they used it up.

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