The Loving Legacy

The Loving Legacy

Five interracial couples tell their love stories in a state where it was once a crime for Mildred and Richard Loving to marry

Published on October 28, 2016

Most Americans have never heard of Mildred and Richard Loving. But next week, a Hollywood movie will introduce the country to a time and place — 58 years ago in Virginia — when a sheriff could burst into a couple’s bedroom and arrest them for being married.

“Loving,” which opens in theaters Nov. 4, tells the story of Mildred and Richard, young romantics who became felons when they dared to wed in 1958. She was black, he was white, and that was a crime in Virginia and 23 other states. They were arrested, convicted and banished from their home state. But their legal fight led to the 1967 landmark Supreme Court ruling in Loving v. Virginia that ended miscegenation laws in the 16 states where they were still on the books.

Richard and Mildred Loving, challenging Virginia's law against interracial marriage, won a United State Supreme Court ruling today against such laws.  June 12, 1967

Richard and Mildred Loving challenged Virginia’s law against interracial marriage and won a 1967 Supreme Court ruling, which is celebrated nationally every June 12 as Loving Day.

The pair returned to Virginia and, slowly, Virginia began to look more like them. Black hands joined with white hands at altars from Hampton Roads to Herndon as the state that once served as the capital of the Confederacy grew more populous, more diverse and more tolerant. By 2010, Virginia led the nation in the rate of black-white marriages, according to the Pew Research Center. And while racism hasn’t disappeared, the state’s marital melting pot now includes people from all over the world. Few heads turn at the sight of a Venezuelan-Indian couple or a Korean bride with her white groom or, since same-sex marriage became legal two years ago, lesbians of different colors exchanging vows.

Today, Virginia is for Lovings, as these portraits of five mixed-race marriages show.

— Steve Hendrix

Aisha and Scott Cozad, Woodbridge

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Almost fifty years after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned laws against interracial marriage in the case of Mildred and Richard Loving, their story is featured in a film coming out on Nov. 4. Three modern-day couples talk about the impact the case has had on their relationship.

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