Thursday, June 14, 2007

Loving Day

June 12 was the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia (1967), the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in the United States. The Loving conference is going on now in Chicago.

Thanks to Finding Wonderland for the heads-up and the link to Loving Day. Tadmack tells us: "Ms. Mildred Jeter (an African American lady) and Mr. Richard Perry Loving (a Caucasian gentleman) were residents of Virginia who married in June of 1958 in Washington DC, leaving Virginia to evade a state law banning marriages between any white person and a non-white person. When they returned home, they were charged with violation of the ban, pleaded guilty, and were sentenced to one year in prison, with the sentence suspended for 25 years on condition that the couple leave the state of Virginia. They left... but they decided not to leave it at that, and that is why today we celebrate people's rights to love anyone they choose."

I visited the Loving site today and I was fascinated by their interactive U.S. map. You can click on the time line of dates in our history and see the states change color as they go from becoming a state, making interracial relationships illegal, and then making them legal. At first it seems tedious to have to keep clicking and wait for something to happen (for many years nothing changes at all). But then you realize - each click is a year. A Year. When it was illegal to marry and live in a family with people you loved. Because their skin was a different shade or their culture was different from that of your family of origin. I kept clicking back and forth through the years. Now we can be together. Now we can't. Can. Can't. I started crying.

If you are gay or lesbian it's still illegal in most places to marry the one you are committed to loving. I wonder what that map is going to look like in 40 years.

Another blog post about Loving Day:
My American Melting Pot

This one's not about Loving Day, but it's not to be missed: Los Angelista

I missed the celebration this year and can't go to the conference, but I am happy to hear about what others are doing. My son Buddy graduates from pre-school today so this tranracial family is celebrating all over the place!


Andrea said...

I never knew about this until I saw it in the paper the other day. Shame on me, since it probably changed my life.

AMY T said...

thanks for the history lesson and great posts.