Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving drove 90 miles from their home in rural Virginia to get married in Washington, DC. Mildred was pregnant, and the couple wanted to avoid the stigma and ostracism associated with out of wedlock pregnancy. It didn’t occur to her that interracial marriage was not only stigmatized but criminalized in Virginia.
It must have been terrifying to be awoken at 2AM by sheriff’s deputies, and then to be sentenced to prison- prison!- for marrying the person you loved, to have to move to a strange city in order to avoid prison, only to be arrested again for daring to travel with your husband to visit your mother. It was 9 years after their arrest that the Supreme Court issued the decision that allowed them to return home from DC to the quiet life they wanted together.
If there’s an afterlife, I hope Mr. and Mrs. Loving are enjoying a reunion.
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs