The Root | Loving Day

The Root

Wed, 03/09/2011 - 12:39pm -- eddien
The Root: "Interracial Loving in Alabama, Celebrating Loving Day"
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Monique Fields

...At that moment, we didn’t give much thought to the obvious. He is white; I am black.

When he asked me to marry him in October 2000, a law banning interracial marriages, though unenforceable, still sat on Alabama’s books. The state’s voters repealed the law a month later but was the last in the country to have language from the segregated South remaining in its constitution—and 40 percent of the Alabama electorate wanted to keep it that way and opposed removing the ban.

For us, though, all that mattered that day in 2000—and every day since—was that he loved me; the—generous, pensive, temperamental me—and that I loved him; the fiercely loyal, easygoing more-conservative-than-I-would-like him.

We didn’t give any thought to Richard and Mildred Loving, the interracial couple who were married in Washington, D.C. in 1958 and had the audacity to return to Virginia only to be arrested for violating the state’s Racial Integrity Act. We didn’t need to give the case or their story much thought. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned their conviction and legalized interracial marriage on June 12, 1967.

The Lovings left a legacy. Today, interracial couples make up 7.4 percent of the nearly 61 million married couples in the United States, according to the Census Bureau, and some celebrate Loving Day on June 12.