Words by Smiley Team
June is marked by a lot of things in the United States. Some of the first things that come to mind are school coming to an end, summer beginning, Pride Month, and Juneteenth. Other things that happen in June are Father’s Day, Flag Day, Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, as well as a handful of observances.
One of the most impactful days though is Loving Day.
Loving Day is named for Richard and Mildred Loving, who in June 1958 awoke to policemen in their bedroom who were there to arrest them.
“They asked Richard who was that woman he was sleeping with? I say, I'm his wife, and the sheriff said, not here you're not. And they said, come on, let's go,” Mildred Loving recalled that night in the HBO documentary The Loving Story.
The police were at their home because Mildred and Richard were a mixed-race couple. Mildred was Black and Native American, and Richard was white. In 1958 Virginia law called this unlawful cohabitation. They were to be arrested and imprisoned for a year but a judge offered them a choice: banishment from the state or prison. They chose the former for a few years until they returned a few years later, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union in court.
This event led to the Supreme Court case called Loving v. Virginia.
The verdict of the case, coming on June 12, 1957, led to interracial marriage becoming legal across the United States.
Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote the opinion for the court; he wrote that marriage is a basic civil right and to deny this right on a basis of color is “directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment” and seizes all citizens “liberty without due process of law.”
DONATE: The ACLU is still around today and helped the Loving’s with their case. Consider donating them to support cases they cover today.
SUPPORT: Look into supporting civil rights across all forms, like same-sex marriage today. Not everyone has equal rights across the United States.