• The Lovings, a marriage that changed history.


    The Lovings, a marriage that changed history.


    In July 1958, Mildred and Richard Loving were arrested for interracial marriage, then a crime in their home state of Virginia. Life photographer Grey Villet spent a few weeks with them, two years before their case brought down the law.

    Mildred and Richard Loving, pictured on their front porch in King and Queen County, Virginia, in 1965. In June 1958, the couple went to Washington DC to marry, to work around Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which made marriage between whites and non-whites a crime. After an anonymous tip, police officers raided their home a month later, telling the Lovings their marriage certificate was invalid. In 1959, the Lovings pled guilty to ‘cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth’

    Photograph: © Grey Villet, 1965.

    Richard kisses his wife as he arrives home from work. The Lovings were were sentenced to one year in prison, suspended if they left Virginia and did not return together for at least 25 years. The couple moved to Washington DC.

    For five years, the Lovings lived in internal exile while they raised their three children, Peggy, Sidney and Donald, seen here playing in the fields near their Virginia home.

    In 1964, frustrated that they could not visit their families in Virginia together, Mildred wrote to attorney general Robert F Kennedy, who referred her to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU assigned volunteer attorneys Bernard S Cohen and Philip J Hirschkop to the Lovings, pictured together in their office discussing the case.

    The case went from the Virginia Caroline county circuit court, all the way to the US supreme court in Washington. The Lovings did not attend the hearings in Washington, but Cohen conveyed a message from Richard: ‘Mr Cohen, tell the court I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.’ The Supreme Court overturned the Lovings’ convictions in a unanimous decision in June 1967, ruling that the ban on interracial marriage was unconstitutional and in violation of the 14th Amendment.

    Despite the supreme court’s decision, anti-miscegenation laws remained in several states despite the ruling making it unenforceable. Alabama continued to enforce the law until 1970, and was the last state to adapt its laws to the supreme court’s decision – in 2000. The couple’s story was adapted into the 2016 film Loving, seen here, with Ruth Negga as Mildred and Joel Edgerton as Richard.



  • Commentaires

    Aucun commentaire pour le moment

    Suivre le flux RSS des commentaires

    Ajouter un commentaire

    Nom / Pseudo :

    E-mail (facultatif) :

    Site Web (facultatif) :

    Commentaire :