I’m a little tied UP this week – so hopefully you’ll forgive this re-run. It’s an important story that bears repeating.
It ran over five years ago. Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, a landmark Supreme Court case.
I have always been taught that we all came from Adam, and after that Noah, who had three sons. One white-ish, one dark-ish, and one Jew-ish.
Well, maybe it isn’t all that simple. But, as Christian and one who reads the Bible: one God, one story of creation, one flood, one people.
Yes, we’re all different. But, is anyone really white or black? Aren’t we just all shades of gray?
Sadly, that’s not so now, and wasn’t so in most of the US for centuries.
The Racial Integrity Act of 1924, a law forbidding the marriage of persons of different races was on the books in the Old Dominion and wasn’t over turned until the Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional in 1967.
Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter were married in the District of Columbia since they couldn’t be married in their home state of Virginia, because she was black and native American, and he was white.
UPon coming home to Caroline County, VA, they were arrested, charged with violating Virginia’s law banning the marriage between any white person and any non-white person. They were charged under Section 20-58 of the Virginia Code. It prohibited interracial couples from marrying out of state, and then moving back into the Commonwealth.
They had been found sleeping in their bed – together. The pervy cops who entered their home had hoped to find them engaged in sex, which would have been another charge. Mrs. Loving pointed to her marriage license on the wall. Rather than that sacred document defending them, it became evidence.
The law classified ‘miscegenation’ as a felony, punishable by prison. One to five years to be exact. In January of 1959, the couple pled guilty, were sentenced to a year in prison, with the sentence suspended for 25 years providing they leave the state.
The judge, The Honorable Big Stupid Bigot Leon M. Bazile, quoted Johann Friedrich Blumenbach’s 18th century mantra of race, said, “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 show that He did not intend for the races to mix.”
I’m sure he was a hit at the Klan rally that night! And frankly, I don’t know why God put different races on different continents, but I will say, I find it unlikely that He would have allowed us to invent methods of transportation so that we could meet if it wasn’t OK.
I know, that sounds rather simplistic.
The couple moved to DC. The ACLU took UP their case, and to make a long legal story short, it wound UP before the Supremes. Diana Ross being married to two white men said, “bullshit brotha” The VA laws were eventually struck down.
Oddly enough, seems no one in Virginia knew that the races have been mixing in that state since the first slaves landed. Really, look around. It gives a whole to meaning to the word color blind.
The Lovings had three children.
Richard was killed in a car wreck in 1975. Mildred, a passenger in the car lost her eye. She died in 2008. Her daughter, Peggy Fortune said, “I want people to remember her as being strong and brave yet humble – and that she believed in love.”
When commemorating the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, Mildred said, “It wasn’t my doing, it was God’s work.”
True love ways can over come just about anything!
She never thought herself an agent of change, only a woman in love.