An amazing day approaches that I always like to remember and acknowledge: June 12, National Loving Day. I’m an avid reader (If you are too, join the FFL Book Club!) and have read thousands of love stories, both fictional and real. The love story of Richard and Mildred Loving is one of my favorite love stories of all time. It is an incredibly unlikely love story that effectively ends the last of the segregation laws in this country.

It should have been a common classic love story. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, they get married, have children, live happily ever after. But for Richard, a blond white man and Mildred, a dark haired woman with African and Native American heritage, love was a literal battle.

In 1958, the couple went to Washington, DC to get married. They were not permitted by law to get married in their home state of Virginia. Not long after they were married, the Lovings were arrested in the middle of the night. Why? Due to the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, people of different races were not allowed to get married to each other. Instead of going to jail, the Lovings were allowed to move to Washington, DC, leaving behind their lives, families and friends.

Missing her former life, Mildred wrote to Robert F Kennedy in 1963. As a result, the Lovings case began making its way through the courts. In the US District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge Bazile gave his response:

“Almighty God created the races white, back, 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 for the races to mix.”

This horrible ruling paved the way for the Supreme Court, one in all, to rule in favor of Richard and Mildred. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote, “…the freedom to marry or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed on by the State.” He went on to say, “…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.”     

We have endless songs, movies, stories, and poems that all talk about the power of true love. For Richard and Mildred, it was the power of true love that carried their story all the way to the Supreme Court. You can see glimpses of their life together here and here. The beautiful simplicity of these black and white photographers always takes my breath away. I highly encourage you to watch the “Loving” movie to see the story unfold for yourself. It is currently available to stream on Netflix and HBO Max.  I will always be touched by the beautiful simplicity of this couple and the depth of their love. And I will always be so grateful for their courage and determination that has paved the way for so many others and perhaps one day, maybe even myself.

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” Song of Solomon 6:3 NIV

Hannah Brokaw lives in the Bluegrass State but votes red. She enjoys true crime TV shows, long naps and tacos. Please bother her via Twitter where she has a lot of thoughts.

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