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Less than 50 years ago, the same racist laws the Lovings were fighting against could have kept my own family apart: In the same year that the Lovings' case concluded in the Supreme Court, my father was born to an interracial couple.My grandfather was Filipino and my grandmother was white; in California, where they were married, the anti-miscegenation laws forbade whites from marrying blacks, Asians, and Filipinos until 1948.But at a time when protestors are still crowding the streets in the name of equal rights, the story of the Lovings is a reminder of how much work still needs to be done to improve the country's issues with race.
However, just a few weeks after the couple had returned to their hometown, they were charged with breaking the state's Racial Integrity Act of 1924 and were thrown in jail.
In exchange for a guilty plea, the judge suspended their potential one-year sentence as long as they left the state for 25 years—a difficult deal the Lovings agreed to.
When Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter fell in love in rural Virginia in the 1950s, they had no idea that one day they would become the subjects of a landmark civil rights case.
Loving, a white man, and Jeter, a black and Native American woman, grew up together in Central Point, an integrated small town.
At the time they wanted to marry, Virginia—along with dozens of other states—was still under strict anti-miscegenation laws that made it illegal to marry someone of a different race.
On June 2, 1958, the Lovings traveled 100 miles to Washington, DC, to wed.