The film focuses on the battle to overturn laws against mixed-race marriages. Seven years after a marriage that Virginia deemed illegal. The case was brought by Mildred Loving, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, who had been sentenced to a year in prison in Virginia for marrying each other.
Their marriage violated the state’s anti-miscegenation statute, the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which prohibited marriage between people classified as “white” and people classified as “colored“. The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision determined that this prohibition was unconstitutional, reversing Pace v. Alabama (1883) and ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States.
The decision was followed by an increase in interracial marriages in the U.S., and is remembered annually on Loving Day, June 12. It has been the subject of two movies, as well as several songs.
In 1958, only three years before Barack Obama’s parents married, the newlyweds were awakened in their bed in the middle of the night by flashlights shining in their faces. Mildred explained that she was Richard’s wife. “Not here, you’re not,” the sheriff replied as he put them under arrest.
LOVING – Press Conference