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.