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Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving Marriage Profile

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Why the Marriage of Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving is Important :

The marriage of Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving is important because their battle through the courts to be married and to be able to live where they wanted to live changed America when the Supreme Court decided in their favor and overturned state laws that prohibited interracial marriages.

Born:

Richard Perry Loving: October 1933 in Central Point, Caroline County, Virginia.

Mildred Dolores Jeter: Abt. 1939 in Central Point, Caroline County, Virginia.

Died:

Richard: June 29, 1975 after their car was hit by a drunken driver. Richard was 41 when he died. Richard is buried in Central Point, Virginia.

Mildred: May 2, 2008 at her home in Central Point, Virginia. Mildred died of pneumonia at the age of 68.

How Mildred and Richard Met:

Richard first met Mildred when he was 17 years old and she was 11 years old. As she grew older, their friendship blossomed into romance.

Wedding Date:

When Mildred was 18 and Richard was 24 when they were married on June 2, 1958 in Washington, D.C. Mildred's father and one of her brothers were the witnesses at their wedding ceremony. "They picked the name of a minister from a phone book and, immediately after the ceremony, got back in the car, and returned to Central Point."
Source: Virginia Hasn't Always Been for Lovers, page 10.

Arrest:

Five weeks after their wedding, they were awakened at 2 a.m. by police and arrested for being married to one another. During their time in jail, Mildred and Richard were housed on separate floors.

On January 6, 1959, after pleading guilty to the charge against them, they were sentenced to one year in jail. The sentence was suspended for 25 years "on the condition that the Lovings leave the State and not return to Virginia together for 25 years."
Source: Lovingday.org

Loving vs. Virginia Court Case:

After facing housing discrimination in Washington, D.C., and being unhappy about not living close to their families, Mildred wrote a letter to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy forwarded the letter to the American Civil Liberties Union and attorney Bernard S. Cohen took their case. After many setbacks throughout a nine-year period, their case was heard before the U.S. Supreme Court which in 1967 decided unanimously in their favor.

Children:

Mildred and Richard had three children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
  • Donald Loving: Donald died in 2000.
  • Peggy Loving.
  • Sidney Loving

Resources about Mildred and Richard Loving:

Virginia Hasn't Always Been for Lovers
by Phyl Newbeck
Excerpt
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Mr. and Mrs. Loving (1996)
Showtime Film

Mildred about the film: "Not much of it was very true. The only part of it right was I had three children."
Source: Dionne Walker, USAToday.com, "Pioneer of intrracial marriage looks back", 6-10-2007
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Quotes About the Marriage of Mildred and Richard Loving:

Mildred's "Loving for All" statement, 6/12/07: "I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard's and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That's what Loving, and loving, are all about."
Source: Freedomtomarry.org

Mildred about Richard: "He used to take care of me. He was my support, he was my rock."
Source: Dionne Walker, USAToday.com, "Pioneer of intrracial marriage looks back", 6-10-2007

Richard about the Supreme Court decision: "For the first time, I could put my arm around [Mildred] and publicly call her my wife."
Source: Skeeter Sanders. Skeeter Biters Report. "True Love Knows No Color." 6-11-2007.

Richard to their attorney: “Mr. Cohen, tell the court I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.”
Source: Douglas Martin, "Mildred Loving, Who Battled Ban on Mixed-Race Marriage, Dies at 68", NYT.com, 6-06-2008.

Bernard Cohen, attorney: "They just were in love with one another and wanted the right to live together as husband and wife in Virginia, without any interference from officialdom."
Source: NPR.org. "Loving Decision: 40 Years of legal interracial Unions."

Chief Justice Earl Warren, June 12, 1967: "... The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival ... 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."
Source: FindLaw.com.

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