The Lovings

The Landmark Caroline County, Virginia Couple

the Lovings


The Beginning

Richard Loving was born October 29, 1933.

Mildred Delores Jeter was born June 22, 1939.

They grew up and lived as neighbors in Caroline County, Virginia, near Central Point where they fell in love. Because of the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, interracial marriage was illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia so Mildred and Richard married on June 2, 1958 in Washington, D.C.

They returned to Caroline County, and they were later arrested on July 14th in their home by Caroline Sheriff Garnett Brooks and two deputies. On January 6, 1959, the Lovings were prosecuted and convicted of violating the state's anti-miscegenation law.

Judge Leon M. Bazile sentenced each to a one-year jail term at a state penitentiary. However, Judge Bazile promised to suspend their sentences if they agreed to leave the state and not return for 25 years.

The Lovings left their home in Caroline County and moved to Washington, D.C.

The Case

the LovingsWanting to return to their families in Caroline County, Mildred Loving wrote a letter to US Attorney General Robert Kennedy in 1963. Kennedy sent the request to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) where Attorneys Philip J. Hirschkop and Bernard S. Cohen were assigned to the case.

An attempt to appeal the conviction at Virginia's Supreme Court of Appeals in Richmond was presented on February 11, 1965 and denied on March 7, 1966.

The Loving v. Virginia case was then brought to the US Supreme Court on April 10, 1967. The US Supreme Court voted unanimously in favor of Lovings on June 12, 1967 and ruled Virginia's anti-miscegenation law was unconstitutional.

This forced the 16 states which still had anti-miscegenation laws to erase them from their books.

Life After the Decision

Richard and Mildred Loving returned to Caroline County to raise their three children. Unfortunately, tragedy struck the Loving family on June 29, 1975 when a drunk driver hit their vehicle. Mildred lost her right eye, and Richard lost his life. Mildred continued to live in Caroline County until she died of pneumonia on May 2, 2008.

However, the story of Richard and Mildred Loving does not end there.

Numerous books and films have been made, and countless law students study this case. June 12th is now celebrated all over the country as Loving Day which hopes to build multicultural communities. While the Lovings never saw themselves as heroes, this courageous couple and this landmark case forever changed the laws of the United States and the lives of its nation's citizens.