HAPPY LOVING DAY: JUNE 12, 1967 – JUNE 12, 2016

On June 12, 1967, the United States Supreme Court unanimously decreed that anti-miscegenation laws still on the books in 7 states were unconstitutional.

U.S States, by the date of repeal of anti-miscegenation laws:

  GREY AREAS:       No laws passed
  GREEN AREAS:   1780 to 1887
  YELLOW AREAS: 1948 to 1967
  RED AREAS;         After 1967
(The last holdout state to repeal its anti-miscegenation laws was the state of Alabama. It did not abolish its anti-miscegenation laws, in compliance with the 1967 Supreme Court decision,  until 2000, when 60% of the voters endorsed a ballot initiative that removed anti-miscegenation language from the state constitution.)

The couple who brought the anti-miscegenation laws down were Mr. Richard Loving and Mrs. Mildred Jeter Loving.

Photo from the estate of Grey Villet.

Just 49 years ago, it was against the law for a man and a woman to marry whomever they wanted to marry because codified into law was the state’s power to intervene with racist laws that forbid them to do so.

Photo from the estate of Grey Villet.

That it was a White man who fought against the state, to preserve his right to marry whom he wished, and not lay up with the woman he loved, who was a Black woman named Mildred Jeter, was profound. I am no believer that interracial marriages will destroy racist white supremacy. If such a thing were true, then all the White men and White women laying up with Black people would have eradicated racism over 400 years ago.

If White men during Reconstruction and Jane Crow segregation had organized en masse to bring down the anti-miscegenation laws and took their cases before the Supreme Court to end the sexualized gendered race hatred against Black women, then all the AMLs would have been taken off the books decades and centuries earlier before 1967.

Instead, so many White men were too cowardly and hateful towards the humanity of and the innocent and loving Black women to honor them with love, marriage, and protection.

On the other hand, no state or federal government should have the de jure right to prevent a consenting man and woman from marrying whom they wish.

Photo from the estate of Grey Villet.

Through the years, a network of volunteers wanted to honor the Lovings’ fight against injustice in establishing Loving Day in 2004.

Now in its 13th year, the holiday has reached national and global inroads into many communities boasting the world’s largest network of multiethnic community celebrations. Many couples choose Loving Day as their wedding date or date to propose because of its profound significance, and there is even a movement to persuade President Barack Hussein Obama to make it a nationally recognized holiday.

Photo from the estate of Grey Villet.

In all honesty, it should not be a national holiday.

Other SCOTUS decisions are not a holiday, so this one does not rate a hierarchy over other SCOTUS decisions.

The Loving Day Organization started a petition on May 31, 2016 and has 30 days to get 100,000 signatures.

Scheduled to be released in November, 2016 is the new film Loving, based on the famous couple’s lives.

The Lovings were showcased in earlier films with the 1996 Lela Rochon/Timothy Hutton film “Mr. and Mrs. Loving“, and the HBO documentary “The Loving Story“.

What Is Loving Day?
Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton in Loving
Ben Rothstein /Focus Features

The studio behind the new film, Focus Features (always the cutting edge studio in its film catalogue releases), is participating today in Loving Day in cities across America—New York City, Los Angeles, CA., and Washington, D.C., to name a few. Focus Features has also encouraged interracial and interethnic couples to share their stories and photos on social media (Twitter: @LovingTheFilm; Facebook: LovingTheFilm; Instagram: @LovingTheFilm) and to tell how Richard and Mildred’s love story to overcome what seemed to be insurmountable odds, inspired those couples and their families.

Love, and marriage.

Two rights in the pursuit of happiness that the Loving decision did to make marriage a most fundamental right.

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