Mildred Loving, RIP

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In 1958, Mildred Jeter, a black woman from Virginia, drove 80 miles to Washington, D.C. with her boyfriend Richard Loving, a white man, to get married. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, such a union violated state miscegenation laws. But when the Lovings returned to their home town of Central Point, VA, they were arrested in bed.

By their own widely reported accounts, Mrs. Loving and her husband, Richard, were in bed in their modest house in Central Point in the early morning of July 11, 1958, five weeks after their wedding, when the county sheriff and two deputies, acting on an anonymous tip, burst into their bedroom and shined flashlights in their eyes. A threatening voice demanded, "Who is this woman you're sleeping with?"

Mrs. Loving answered, "I'm his wife."

Mr. Loving pointed to the couple's marriage certificate hung on the bedroom wall. The sheriff responded, "That's no good here."

The Virginia law, which dated back to 1662, was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1967. It was a unanimous decision.

Mildred Loving died yesterday. She was 68.

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  1. May this heroine who broke an unjust law be remembered for the ages. All unjust laws should be violated. This is the only way to initiate true change.

  2. You think Rosa Parks was brave?
    This man and woman could easily have been murdered by a white supremacist. In fact, I’m surprised they weren’t.
    RIP. I wish there were a heaven for you.

  3. Funny how it’s ok to sleep with a black woman (yes Mr. Plantation Owner, I’m looking at you) but not ok to marry one. I’m thinking this has something to do with the Bible, and the fact that Almighty God, Lord and Savior, just doesn’t like darkies.

  4. I’m curious. Did the pig who broke into their bedroom get a warrant? Also, is his name a matter of public record?

    -jcr

  5. That women and her husband had balls. You would like to think that put in the same situation you would do something similiar, but at least for me I wouldn’t make any bets. Not that I am coward, but what she did was above and beyond. My father tells a story about being in the Marine Corps in North Carolina in the mid 1960s and seeing five guys jump and beat the living hell out of a young black man for daring to walk down the street with a white women. People were not kidding around back then. Even though they didn’t have Bull Conner some of the worst of it was in the Old Dominion. I hope this women is in a better place.

  6. It’s crap like this that makes it hard to be consistent on the matter of federalism. For example, I support the right of gay folks to get married. I also think it would be better if the state laws preventing it were changed, not ordered by federal courts.

    Yet how is the matter of gays getting married really all that different from this case?

    I guess the answer is sometimes you would have to accept crappy rulings in exchange for principles.

  7. I’m always amazed by the level of energy you have to expend to hate that much. “Oh noes, I’d rather break into some dude’s house in the middle of the night because he married a nigger, than, say, sleeping, banging my wife, or drinking with my friends”.

    No wonder the south is so lazy and unproductive*; they expend all their energy on hatin’.

    * just kidding, chill the fuck out southerners

  8. “Yet how is the matter of gays getting married really all that different from this case?”

    Not recognizing a marriage is a lot different than arresting you for it. This is more analagous to sodomy laws were people were thrown in jail for consentual adult activity.

  9. There sheriff who arrested them was interviewed by the AP last year for a story on the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision:

    Now 84, Garnett Brooks vividly recalls bursting into the Lovings’ home at 2 a.m., rousing the couple out of their sleep and hauling them off to face the law. Word of their marriage – nobody’s sure who complained – had reached the commonwealth’s attorney.

    “He told me to go and check on them and if they are (married) arrest them,” said Brooks, who insists the case wasn’t about race, but about illegal cohabitation.

    “I told him I’d be glad to do it.”

  10. I’m always amazed by the level of energy you have to expend to hate that much.

    Are you kidding? People hate because it feels good to hate. It gives a person an adrenaline rush when they act on the object of their hate, places their actions in a non-personal frame allowing them to feel like their actions have broader meaning, stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain reinforcing the activity, and strengthens people’s notions of peer camaraderie and peer bonding by illustrating a clear us/them dichotomy.

    Hate energizes people to act; the very opposite of a soporific.

  11. That women and her husband had balls.

    I think that’s still illegal in Virginia…

  12. I’m always amazed by the level of energy you have to expend to hate that much.

    No kidding. Change is slow. When I was in the Army in 1988, I remember these two dudes, from colorado no less, who seethed with vitriolic righteous indignation at seeing these miscegenated couples (usually black guy, german white girl) and how long they would rant and that it was “unnatural.” But most were of the opinion, “yeah, whatever.”

    May this heroine who broke an unjust law be remembered for the ages.

    Thank you, ma’am. Thanks to you, I can now date all the hot Hispanics, or whoever, I want and no one blinks an eye.

  13. If the colors had been flipped around, Richard would have been dead 20 minutes after the door broke down.

    The quote from the judge? About how if God had meant for different colors to get married, He wouldn’t have put them on different continents?

    My stomach turns.

    Bless you, Mildred.

    From the article: “In addition to her daughter, Peggy Fortune, who lives in Milford, Va., Mrs. Loving is survived by her son, Sidney, of Tappahannock, Va.; eight grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.”

    That’s just wonderful.

  14. Some laws are unjust and meant to be broken, this is one of those cases.

  15. Are you kidding? People hate because it feels good to hate…Hate energizes people to act; the very opposite of a soporific.

    Maybe for you, LMNOP. Hater.

  16. “When I was in the Army in 1988, I remember these two dudes, from colorado no less, who seethed with vitriolic righteous indignation at seeing these miscegenated couples (usually black guy, german white girl) and how long they would rant and that it was “unnatural.” But most were of the opinion, “yeah, whatever.””

    I was in the Air Force in the early zeros and one thing I noticed about the military at that time was that the rate of interracial and interethnic marriage was actually much higher among the military than among the civilian population. But I have no idea what this was like in the 1980’s.

  17. Goddamn liberal judicial activism.

  18. And of course, the name of the Supreme Court case was “Loving vs. Virginia”–which also serves as a summary of the issues of the case…

  19. who insists the case wasn’t about race, but about illegal cohabitation.

    I’m not sure what the psychological term for the sheriff’s disorder is. I don’t think its cognitive dissonance?

  20. Given that blacks no longer marry, does this even matter anymore?

  21. Maybe for you, LMNOP. Hater.

    LOL. I am, after all, human.

  22. And could I get an Amen for Juanita @ 3:54 pm?

  23. LOL. I am, after all, human.

    Hmm, I doubt that. It is my supposition that you are, in fact, the last Cylon model.

    Not just a hater, but a fucking toaster too.

    (I haven’t watched the last few episodes as they are on my DVR so do not say any spoilers.)

  24. Amen. May it be noted for the record that I agree with Juanita’s comment on May 6, 2008 at 3:54pm.

  25. “I was in the Air Force in the early zeros and one thing I noticed about the military at that time was that the rate of interracial and interethnic marriage was actually much higher among the military than among the civilian population. But I have no idea what this was like in the 1980’s.”

    I found the same thing to be true in the Army in the early 00s as well. Mostly white women married to black men, but I never once heard anyone complain about it or it ever be an issue.

  26. I haven’t watched the last few episodes as they are on my DVR so do not say any spoilers.

    I shall be the very picture of good behavior in this regard.

    I shall only say: they are good.

    —–

    Oh, and that’s “skinjob” to you. I ain’t no chrome toaster.

  27. “I found the same thing to be true in the Army in the early 00s as well. Mostly white women married to black men, but I never once heard anyone complain about it or it ever be an issue.”

    I think that this is a positive side effect of basic training. All class, regional and religious distinctions come second to getting through the program. We all get the same haircut, we all wear the same cloths, and we all eat the same chow. Any bigotry that exists before basic usually does not survive the program.

  28. Epi, that should be frackin toaster (or skinjob), to be precise.

  29. More details, including the enduring stupidity of the sheriff.

  30. Oh, and that’s “skinjob” to you. I ain’t no chrome toaster.

    Epi, that should be frackin toaster (or skinjob), to be precise.

    See what happens when I fall behind on watching episodes?!?

    This never happened with Farscape. Frelling show.

  31. From a 1992 NYT article:

    “I was acting according to the law at the time, and I still think it should be on the books,” said Sheriff Brooks, sitting with his wife on the porch of his home in Bowling Green. “I don’t think a white person should marry a black person. I’m from the old school. The Lord made sparrows and robins, not to mix with one another.”

    Mr. Brooks said he had rarely pondered the case in the last 35 years. “If they’d been outstanding people, I would have thought something about it,” he said. “But with the caliber of those people, it didn’t matter. They were both low-class.”

    1. Someone was low class, but they didn’t have the surname “Loving”, or the characteristic.

  32. What I don’t get it that people say this judge and sheriff were of “the greatest generation”.

    nasty, horrid, brutish haters.

  33. “What I don’t get it that people say this judge and sheriff were of “the greatest generation””

    Because you confuse the word generation, with the number 2.

  34. What I don’t get it that people say this judge and sheriff were of “the greatest generation”.

    “The greatest generation” was a flattering moniker created to sell millions of books to old retirees with too much money.

  35. Ditto PIRS and John’s observations for the navy, except it’s mostly white men and asian women.

    I would guess that the Hampton Roads area, due to the Navy, has the most ‘mixed race’ couples anywhere east of the mississippi.

  36. We’re come a long way. Sixty years ago Mildred and Richard Loving were arrested for being an interracial couple. Today, only Richard would have been arrested, because of the age difference between them. The Lovings first met when Richard was 17 and Mildred 11; she became pregnant at age 16, and they married when Richard was 23 and she was 17. Today, their relationship would still be illegal, and Richard Loving would be found guilty of statutory rape — a much more serious crime with a much greater punishment than he faced for interracial marriage. Progress.

  37. Could we sell the virtue of self-interest on the basis that self interested people rarely bother to care about other people’s business such as their race or religion or who they care to marry?

  38. Gary Imhoff,

    I was checking this thread for interracial marriage/gay marriage comparisons, but I didn’t expect comparisons between interracial marriage and sex with minors.

    Anyway, she lived long past her minority, RIP.

  39. “Could we sell the virtue of self-interest on the basis that self interested people rarely bother to care about other people’s business such as their race or religion or who they care to marry?”

    Indeed, I think we could. A dollar from someone with lots of dermal melanin is the same as a dollar from someone with very little dermal melanin. A dollar from an atheist is the same as a dollar from a Baptist. A dollar from a gay man or lesbian is the same as a dollar from a strait person.

  40. “Ditto PIRS and John’s observations for the navy, except it’s mostly white men and asian women.”

    My dad was in the Navy when I was a kid and I remember LOTS of Filipino women in Norfolk. As a small child I didn’t even know they were different. I just thought lots of women looked like that and had and different kind of accent.

  41. As a small child I didn’t even know they were different.

    That’s because they aren’t really different. One has to “learn” such stupidity.

  42. “That’s because they aren’t really different. One has to “learn” such stupidity.”

    Very true. My point is that growing up in that environment I did not see anyone treating them differently because of their ethnicity or nationality.

  43. “I’m thinking this has something to do with the Bible, and the fact that Almighty God, Lord and Savior, just doesn’t like darkies.”

    There is nothing I know off in the bible about God not liking darkies. I do remeber a few stories about the humanity of “unclean” people like sumartians and hokers. The bible isn’t racist overall, cool it.

  44. Gary Imhoff has a good point. The old days were barbaric. The State enforced racist laws while standing idly by as a child was raped.

  45. As an aside I think that race (but maybe not nation of orgin) will be a minor issue when my children start to marry. I am 30 and inter-marriage seems to have been a very minor problem to my in-laws and no problem at all for my wife and I. The whole idea of a non-hispanic white race in America is going to go out the window in my lifetime. As the percentage of minorities increases the matching of mix-“race” couples is going to increase dramatical in the US.

  46. As a small child I didn’t even know they were different.

    I grew up in a small town that had, as far as I know, not a single Jewish resident. I never heard a single anti-Semitic word as a child.

    When I went East to go to school, I was absolutely flabbergasted when I ran into the kind of casual, low-level anti-Semitism that I found there.

  47. I guess the answer is sometimes you would have to accept crappy rulings in exchange for principles.

    But what kind of principles?

    How about courts strictly adhere to law?

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