Her Pursuit Of Love Changed America

Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving
Shonda Buchanan
October 6, 2020

Everybody in town knew that for Mildred and Richard Loving, it was love at first sight. But their love was against the law. 

“Miscegenation” was the crime of interracial marriage. But would they really be punished for loving each other?

After five weeks in wedded bliss, they were shocked awake one night by an angry Sheriff. “What are you doing in bed with this woman?” The sheriff demanded of Richard. Blinded by his flashlight, Mildred responded angrily. “I’m his wife!”

They were hauled to jail – but the sheriff wasn’t done yet.

That night in the dank, cold jail cell turned into the longest four days of Mildred’s life. While her husband was quickly freed, they wouldn’t even set bail for her! Why?

The difference in their treatment showed that miscegenation law’s real purpose was to prevent Black freedom.

Mildred had enough. She wrote a letter to Attorney General Robert Kennedy. After some setbacks, the case eventually went to the Supreme Court – which struck down Virginia's ban on interracial marriage! Other states followed suit. But why did it take so long?

All people should be able to marry whomever they love – but racism even punishes whites who dare to participate in Black freedom. 

We have to stay vigilant, challenging the racist system however we can – even if it means putting ourselves through trials in the pursuit of love.

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