By Andrew Henry
Delaware County Community College hosted a viewing of “The Loving Story Documentary” Feb. 13 at the Marple campus. The documentary follows the legal battle that ensued between an interracial couple and the state of Virginia.
Keely Mitchell, director of paralegal studies at DCCC, organized the screening.
“We chose this documentary because it is the 50th year anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia case,” said Mitchell, adding that it coincides with the school-wide reading book, “Just Mercy,” by Bryan Stevenson.
Mildred Delores Jeter, an African American woman, and Richard Loving, a Caucasian man were an interracial couple from Virginia who married in Washington D.C. in 1958.
On July 14, at approximately 4 a.m., Sheriff Brooks of Caroline County, Va. entered their home, ripped them out of their bed, and arrested them. They broke a law that forbade interracial marriage in 16 southern states.
Anti-miscegenation laws are what plagued the Lovings. The law stated that interracial marriage was illegal as long as the couples lived in the states where the laws were enforced.
Although the Lovings were sentenced to one year in prison, a judge said their sentence would be waived as long as they moved from Virginia.
“Almighty God created the races… and he placed them on separate continents,” said the trial judge who presided over their case. “The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”
As a result of the ruling, the lovings were forced to move to Washington D.C.
Mildred Loving was miserable in Washington D.C., and never adapted to the city life, according to her daughter Peggy. When one of the Loving children was hit by a car while playing outside, though he survived, Mildred decided to take action.
Mildred Loving wrote a letter to Robert Kennedy, the U.S. attorney general, pleading for help. Kennedy suggested she seek the help of the American Civil Liberties Union. The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court.
On June 12, 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against anti-miscegenation laws in all 16 states, which let the Lovings return to Virginia as a legally married couple.
A discussion was supposed to take place after the showing of the documentary, but time ran out.
Thomas Raptor, a 20-year-old education major at DCCC, attended the viewing. He said he was not at all shocked that the ruling happened only 50 years ago.
“It was a good ruling,” Raptor said. “But it should have happened way sooner.”
Contact Andrew Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org